Hidden Figures: Mae Jemison
“I lived on the south side of Chicago, and I was a young girl who loved to stare up at the stars, I imagined myself going there.” - Mae Jemison
Mae Carol Jemison is a doctor, engineer and astronaut. Her eight-day space flight aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 1992 established Jemison as the United States' first female African-American space traveler.
As a young girl growing up in the 1960’s Mae studied the Apollo program obsessively. Despite Mae’s passion for space travel, at university she decided to study engineering and medicine to become a biomedical engineer. During her medical studies she worked with the flying doctors in East Africa. The experience brought her closer to the stars, but she desired to be even closer.
Soon after Mae picked up the phone and called the NASA Johnson Space Centre requesting an application to be an astronaut and join the astronaut program. To Mae’s surprise the person on the other side of the phone didn’t laugh and she handed in her application shortly after.
When Mae applied to the astronaut program, she didn’t think about the fact whether I would be the first African-American woman in space. Mae just wanted to go into space, she said “I couldn’t have cared if there had been a thousand people in space before me or whether they had been none. I wanted to go.”
When Mae travelled to space to study how astronauts responded to gravity, she decided to take to space things that represented people who sometimes are not included.
Mae took with her:
_ A poster of Judith Jamison - an African American Ballet Dancer, performing the Dance Cry.
_ A Bundu statue, which was for the Women’s Society in West Africa.
_Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority flag. The sorority is the oldest African-American women sorority in the United States.
Being in space allowed Mae to feel very connected with the universe, ‘as much a part of this universe as any stars, any comet.”
Source: PBS LearningMedia
Mae Jemison features in Petit Pli's second comic, Mission 2: Earth’s Hidden Figures for LittleHumans, which highlights the importance and significance of the Black Lives Matter movement.
We hope our comic helps to nurture LittleHumans' innate curiosity and inspires them to never stop asking about Earth's hidden figures.