29 reasons to celebrate Black History Month: No. 23 — Mae C. Jemison

February marks Black History Month. Follow the AJC this month for a series of short stories and videos and people, places and events that played a significant role in the development of black people in America.

No. 23

Mae C. Jemison: Mae Jemison was born in nearby Decatur, Ala. in 1956. An academic star from an early age, her parents moved to Chicago for better educational opportunities. She graduated from Stanford in 1977 and got her medical degree from Cornell in 1981. She practiced medicine for a little while, did some medical research and even joined the Peace Corps. Then in 1987, she did a complete 180 and did something that a black girl born in Alabama in 1956 could only otherwise dream of when she became the first black woman to be accepted into NASA’s astronaut training program.—

On Sept. 12, 1992 she became the first black woman in space, when she was one of seven astronauts aboard the Endeavour. It would be her only space flight and Jemison left NASA in 1993 to teach and start her own research and technology firm.

She also has another first. She was the first former NASA astronaut to actually appear on any of the “Star Trek” series episodes – taking her rightful place alongside Uhura.