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June 19, 2021
"No Uncle Tom Stuff”: Reflecting on Juneteenth and Bessie Coleman
June 19, 1865, Texas—A Union Army General, Gordon Granger informed the enslaved African Americans of Texas of their freedom. June 19, 1925—A young Black woman climbed into her aircraft and took to the skies in Houston, Texas. White and Black audiences, separated by different seating arrangements, cheered in unison. Reflect on the significance of both of these events and what it means today.
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Bessie Coleman 'Black Heritage' postage stamp
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June 15, 2021
Celebrating the Centennial of Bessie Coleman as the First Licensed African American Woman Pilot
One-hundred years ago, Bessie Coleman became the first African American woman to earn a pilot's license. Her remarkable journey reflects the racist and sexist struggles many faced across the nation, and worldwide, in the 1920s—both in the air and on the ground.
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Wall Slide
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June 14, 2021
Bessie Coleman: Five Stories You May Not Know
Pioneering aviator Bessie Coleman's life and legacy aren’t just limited to aviation. In the air and on the ground, she made history, changed history, and witnessed history.
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June 10, 2021
AirSpace Season 4, Ep. 9 Chicago Flyer
In the early days of aviation flying was dangerous and expensive. Even if you could afford it, societal barriers in the United States kept many would-be pilots grounded. But in Chicago, the Challenger Air Pilots Association cultivated a community that has since helped thousands of Black pilots learn how to fly. And it all started with a broken down car.
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June 04, 2021
Almost Blind and Completely Exhausted: Gene Cernan’s Disastrous Gemini Spacewalk
Space history curator Michael Neufeld recounts the harrowing spacewalk of astronaut Gene Cernan on the Gemini IX-A mission.
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Eugene Cernan is pictured here outside of the Gemini IX-A spacecraft during his extravehicular activity (EVA)
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May 28, 2021
Colorful World War II Posters: A Message from the U.S. Government
During World War II the United States government used colorful and catchy posters to build public support for the war and remind pilots, mechanics, and other aviation workers to follow best practices for safety, resource preservation, and efficiency.
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World War II aviation poster that reads "build more b-29's"
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May 27, 2021
AirSpace Season 4, Ep. 8: Safety Dance
If you’ve flown commercial, you’re familiar with the preflight safety spiel. On this episode, Emily, Matt, and Nick dive into the history of the inflight safety briefing to better understand the evolution from straight-forward instruction to Hollywood production, and an expert in cabin safety weighs in on whether these flashy videos  actually make air travel safer.
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May 23, 2021
Porokoru Patapu “John” Pohe: The first Māori trained as a pilot to serve in the Royal New Zealand Air Force
In the late fall of 1940, a troopship loaded with new pilots fresh out of primary flight school arrived in Vancouver, Canada. Porokoru Patapu “John” Pohe, first Māori trained as a pilot to serve in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, was amongst them. Captured as a prisoner of war, Pohe became involved with the plot for a mass escape from prison camp Stalag Luft III in Żagań, Poland. The 1963 epic film, “The Great Escape,” immortalized the event.
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Handley Page Halifax in flight with clouds and the Earth in the background
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May 18, 2021
New Perspectives of Old Worlds
The upcoming Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery at the National Air and Space Museum will give visitors a new perspective on the many worlds within our solar system.
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Rendering of Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery at the National Air and Space Museum
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May 16, 2021
The People Behind Astronomical Plates and Notebooks: Project PHaEDRA and the Harvard College Observatory Computers
Astronomers at Harvard’s central observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and its new observatory in Arequipa, Peru, ultimately produced over 500,000 glass plate images of the night sky. Directors of the Harvard College Observatory hired women to study, organize, and care for its immense glass plate collection in Cambridge.
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Group portrait of computers at Harvard College Observatory