Thursday, February 16, 2012

Black History Month: Day 15 & 16| Ashley, Bluford

Maurice Ashley
March 6, 1966- Present

Born in St.Andrew, ,Jamaica, Ashley & his family moved to Brooklyn, New York when he was 12.  He graduated from College of the City of New York, representing the school intercollegiate team competition.  In 1991, he was the coach of the Raging Rooks (Junior High 43) of Harlem, winners of the National J.H.S. Championship, and also the Dark Knights of Harlem, who were two time National Champions of 1994 and 1995 in the Junior Varsity Division.  Under his direction, they continued on to win six more championships. 
In 1999, he became the first black to attain the title of International Grandmaster of Chess.  In 2003, Ashley was named Grandmaster of the Year by the U.S. Chess Federation. 

Guion Bluford
Nov.22, 1942- Present

A native from Philly, Bluford attended Overbrook High School and graduated in 1960.  In 1964, he received his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Penn. State University.  After, he attended flight school where he received his “wings” in 1966.  Bluford was assigned to the 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, where he flew 144 combat missions.  65 of those were over Vietnam.  Once the missions in ‘Nam were complete, he returned to the U.S. serving as a flight instructor for 5 years at the Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas.
Later, Guion Bluford decided to return to school.  He received a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1974, followed by a doctorate of philosophy in aerospace engineering with a minor in laser physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1978. 
In the same year, he was informed that he was included in the 35 astronaut candidates selected out of over 10,000.  He entered the astronaut program and became an astronaut in 1979.  His first mission was STS-8 aboard the space shuttle challenger that launched from Kennedy Space Center on Aug. 30, 1983.  Bluford was the first African-American astronaut in Space. 
He continued pursuing his education career receiving a master’s in business administration from the University of Houston in 1987.  In 1993, Bluford retired from NASA and the Air Force.  Presently, he serves as vice president and general manager of the Science and Engineering Group, Aerospace Sector of Federal Data Corporation in Maryland.

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