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    • I wonder if that was the first african-american astronaut to go to space?

      That's Dr. Ronald McNair, who was actually the second African American in space. The first was Guion Bluford. Incidentally they both joined NASA in 1978 and both flew their first missions (individually) on the Challenger. This was McNair's second mission.

      Here they are with their fellow class-of-78 astronaut Frederick Gregory (right), who was the first African American astronaut to pilot a spacecraft (also the Challenger) and later the first African American to command a space mission (Discovery, STS-33, in 1989).