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Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (1912-2002)

· First African American General in the US Air Force

· Father was the first African American General in any branch of the US military

· Graduated from West Point in 1936 and was commissioned in the infantry in 1941

· Among the first African Americans admitted to the Army Air Corps and pilot training program

· Commander of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, which was the first entirely African American flying squadron and the first to deploy overseas

· Organized the 332nd Fighter Group known as the Tuskegee Airmen, African American fighter and bomber pilots who fought in WWII

· Helped plan the desegregation of the Air Force in 1948

· Received many decorations during his career, including Distinguished Service Medals and a Silver Star

· He received his fourth general’s star in 1998, making him a general of the highest order within the US military

· First African American to be honored in his retirement

· After retiring, Davis headed the federal sky marshal program and was Assistant Secretary of the Dept. of Transportation

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Mae Jemison (1956-)

· First African American female to be admitted to NASA’s astronaut training program and first African American female astronaut

· First African American woman in space

· Attended Stanford University on scholarship, and has degrees in chemical engineering, African and African-American studies

· Attended Cornell University Medical College to become a medical doctor

· Served in the Peace Corps as a medical officer in Sierra Leone and Liberia

· Returned to US in 1985 and decided to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut

· She was one of 15 chosen candidates of about 2000 applications, and this was the first group chosen after the Challenger disaster in 1986

· After more than a year of training as an astronaut, she earned the title of Science Mission Specialist, in which she would be responsible for scientific experiments on the space shuttle Endeavor

· On her only space mission, she took with her a photo of Bessie Coleman, the first African American female to hold an international pilot’s license

· After leaving NASA, she established the Jemison Group for research and development of advanced technologies

· She has written several books for children, including her memoir, Find Where the Wind Goes

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