As head of the United States Information Agency ("The USIA's mission was "to understand, inform and influence foreign publics in promotion of the national interest, and to broaden the dialogue between Americans and U.S. institutions, and their counterparts abroad.") in the early 1960s, he sent a memo to James Webb.
Webb was the then administrator of NASA.
America was then a nation roughly 90 percent white and 10 percent black.
Here's what the memo read:
September 21, 1961
Why don't we put the first non-white man in space?
If your boys were to enroll and train a qualified Negro and then fly him in whatever vehicle is available, we could retell our whole space effort to the whole non-white world, which is most of it.
Edward R. MurrowThe only monuments non-whites build to the memory of whites are to men like John Brown (in the heart of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, rests Avenue John Brown).
|Put this in the wing of the new African-American museum in Washington D.C. Call the wing: black history that should have been (along with the picture of Capt. Edward Dwight putting the American flag on the moon)|
This memo was found in Real Stuff: History of National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Astronaut Recruitment Program.
If you aren't laughing yet, you'll never understand the joke.