CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — America’s first Black astronaut, Air Force Maj. Robert Lawrence Jr., finally got full honors Friday on the 50th anniversary of his death.
Several hundred people gathered at Kennedy Space Center to commemorate Lawrence, who almost certainly would have gone on to fly in space had he not died in a plane crash on Dec. 8, 1967.
The crowd included NASA dignitaries, astronauts, fellow Omega Psi Phi fraternity members, schoolchildren, and relatives of Lawrence and other astronauts who have died in the line of duty.
Lawrence was part of a classified military space program in the 1960s called the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, meant to spy on the Soviet Union. He died when his F-104 Starfighter crashed at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He was 32.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE | WASHINGTON, DC
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).