Alvin Drew, an African-American NASA astronaut, became the 200th person to walk in space. He conducted this spacewalk as a member of the six-person crew on STS-133, the 39th and final mission of Space Shuttle Discovery. Drew’s milestone excursion outside a spacecraft in orbit took place just a little over 16 years after fellow astronaut... Continue Reading →

Marshall W. "Major" Taylor (1878-1932), the first African-American to become a world-champion cyclist, departed the Australian city of Melbourne via train during the course of his second racing tour in the Land Down Under. (His first tour in Australia took place the previous year.) The Indiana-born Taylor had launched his professional cycling career at New York... Continue Reading →

Robert Smalls, whose courage and sailing expertise gained freedom for himself and other slaves during the Civil War, died at his home in Beaufort, South Carolina, at the age of 75. Smalls had been born into slavery in that city in 1839. When he was 12, his master sent him to Charleston to work there as... Continue Reading →

The comparatively brief but historically significant U.S. Navy career of Lieutenant Commander Edward Swain Hope, who had been the highest-ranking African-American naval officer during World War II, came to an end when he was officially released from active duty. Hope was born in 1901 in Atlanta. While his naval service did not actually take place... Continue Reading →

Frederick Douglass, who became a leading statesman and abolitionist of unsurpassed eloquence, was born into slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. (As was the case with many other slaves, Douglass grew up not knowing the exact date of his birth; ultimately, however, he chose February 14 as the date for celebrating his birthday each year.) By... Continue Reading →

A shipyard owned and operated by African-Americans opened for business in Baltimore. A major force behind this new facility was Isaac Myers (1835-1891), who had been born in Baltimore. While Maryland was a slave state, Myers’ parents were free-born African-Americans. When he was 16, Myers began an apprenticeship as a caulker for ships coming into... Continue Reading →

Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., a NASA astronaut, became the first African-American to walk in space. He accomplished this as a member of the six-person crew on STS-63, the first joint American-Russian space program mission and the 20th flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery. The mission lasted just over eight days, and on the sixth... Continue Reading →

A World War II ship that played an important role in African-American history was decommissioned by the U.S. Navy. The submarine chaser USS PC-1264, which had been launched during the fall of 1943, was one of only two Navy ships during the war to have a predominantly African-American crew. (The other vessel with this distinction... Continue Reading →

This post and others throughout African-American History Month will highlight notable African-Americans in transportation. African-American aviation pioneer James Herman Banning died during an air show at the U.S. Navy base in San Diego County, California. He was only 32. “The heroic young flyer was killed when a Travelair two-seater plane, in which he was a... Continue Reading →

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