Meet Mae Carol Jemison – The First Ever African American in Outer Space

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations,” one of the famous saying from Mae Carol Jemison, the first ever African American in Outer Space. When the 50th space shuttle blasted off on its mission, it carried no other than the first African American woman into space. Jemison flew her space mission from September 12 to 20, 1992 as a Mission Specialist of STS-47. Though known in history as the first ever African American woman in space, Jemison was more than an astronaut; she’s also a physician, a teacher, founder and president of two technology companies and a Peace Corps volunteer. Let us look at this fantastic woman in space history.

Early Life

Mae Carol Jemison was born in Alabama on October 17, 1956. She is the youngest child of Charlie Jemison, a carpenter and roofer, and Dorothy Jemison, an elementary school teacher. She has two siblings namely Ada Jemison Bullock and Charles Jemison.


(Original Caption) Dr. Mae Jemison is among 15 new astronauts named by NASA and the first black female shuttle flyer; she is shown at work in her office in Los Angeles.

Jemison moved with her family to Chicago at the age of three and was introduced to the field of science at an early age by her uncle. She then developed interests throughout her childhood in astronomy, archeology, evolution, and anthropology. When she was in high school, she became interested in biomedical engineering, and after graduating from Morgan Park High School at the age of 16, she entered Stanford University. There she earned a BS in Chemical Engineering and African American Studies. After Stanford, she enrolled at Cornell Medical School and later on traveled to Kenya, Cuba, and Thailand. She provided medical care to people living in these countries while studying Doctor of Medicine at Cornell.

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