First Black Space Walk (February 9, 1995)
Harris, according to his Wikipedia entry, received a medical degree in 1982 and completed his residency at Mayo Clinic. During a fellowship program with NASA, he began work on musculoskeletal research—something that would come into great use after completing his fellowship.
Once he left Ames, he went to the Johnson Space Center and continued his research, testing the effects of extended space flights on the human body and developing methods to make it easier for the body to endure the exposure to forces. His research paid off and in August of 1991, he was assigned as a specialist for the Space Station missions. In April of 1993, Harris became the first black man in space. Two years later, he became the Payload Commander for the joint Russian-American Space Station missions and on February 9, he became the first black man to walk in space. In an interview with CNN, he reflected about the historic impact that his space walk had on the world and on individuals. "’To be the first was great, it really was,’ he said. ‘But to me, it signifies that there would be many more behind me. … If you don't know where you are and where you came from, you'll never know where you are going.’”
Harris set about to accomplish his dream. He’d wanted to be an astronaut from the time he was eight years old. After he left NASA in 1996, he went on to start The Harris Foundation in Houston, TX. According to their homepage, “The Harris Foundation was created to enable youth to develop and achieve their full potential through the support of social, recreational and educational programs for grades K thru 12.”4 Visit their website for more information about how you can help a child dare to dream and expand their horizons.
For more information, please visit the following links:
Harris’ Biography at The Harris Foundation’s site
The Harris Foundation
You Should Also Read:
Greensboro Sit-In (February 1, 1960)
Remembering the Challenger (January 28, 1986)
First in Space--Yuri Gagarin (April 12, 1961)
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