A Look Back in History: Mae Jemison — Breaking New Ground in Space

Mae C. Jemison was born on Oct. 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama. At an early age, Jemison developed interests in anthropology, archaeology and astronomy.

She graduated from Morgan Park High School in 1973 as an honor student and entered Stanford University on a National Achievement Scholarship. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering in 1977. Jemison went on to earn a doctorate degree in medicine from Cornell University in 1981. On June 4, 1987, she became the first African-American woman to be admitted into the astronaut training program.

Jemison went into space on Sept. 12, 1992, with six other astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. This was the first time an African-American woman had gone into space. She served as the science mission specialist in Spacelab-J from Sept. 12-20. Jemison was a co-investigator on the bone cell research experiment flown on the mission. She ended up logging 190 hours, 30 minutes, 23 seconds in space.

In recognition of her accomplishments, Jemison received several honorary doctorates, the 1988 Essence Science and Technology Award, the Ebony Black Achievement Award in 1992 and a Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College in 1993. She was also Gamma Sigma Gamma Woman of the Year in 1990. In 1992, an alternative public school in Detroit, called the Mae C. Jemison Academy, was named after her.