BLACK STARS IN ORBIT by Khephra Burns

BLACK STARS IN ORBIT

NASA's African American Astronauts
Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The collaborators on a 1990 television documentary with the same title have turned that work into a book, including profiles of recent black astronauts. The vocabulary level is occasionally too high, but clear, straightforward writing makes the text accessible to most. The historical coverage begins with the Tuskegee Experiment, a program to train black fighter pilots in WW II, continues through the 1950s desegregation of the armed forces, the 1960s space race, NASA's 1970s recruitment of minorities, and the shuttle program of the 1980s and 1990s. Burns and Miles pull no punches in their descriptions of how discrimination prevented AfricanAmericans from being the first in space, and how the shuttle missions, which require scientists and not just pilots, have provided more opportunities for blacks. Related with passion and conviction, this is a stirring portrait of a remarkable group of individuals. The book succeeds on not one front, but two: it puts forth the history of the U.S. space program from the perspective of African-Americans, and shows how the space race can be viewed as a paradigm of the civil rights struggle. (B&W photos, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-15-200432-7
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1995