His name was Ed Dwight.
|Had John F. Kennedy not been assassinated, his magical negro astronaut candidate, Capt. Ed Dwight, would have been the first man on the moon.|
Sure, he had logged flight time and had an aeronautical engineering degree, but Capt. Ed Dwight's primary skill-set was being one of the few qualified black men the Kennedy Administration could quickly promote into NASA astronaut candidate program.
His name was Ed Dwight.
His black skin qualified him for immediate promotion into the merit-based astronaut-training program that had been exclusively the hunting of white men who had earned their way there.
J. Alfred Phelps book They Had a Dream: The Story of African American Astronauts, includes a look at just how aggressive the Kennedy Administration was in promoting a negro astronaut:
It all began with a telephone call from the White House to the Department of Defense. There was no arrogance in the callers voice; only a simple question:
"Does the Air Force have any Negroes in the new aerospace research pilots' course being set up at Edwards Air Force Baser in California?"
After what was probably an extended pause came the answer: "No, there aren't any."
It was an ordinary enough question, but the call came from an extraordinary source.
Had it come from an ordinary White House, the reaction might have been mild, nothing more than grist for a workday tale some government employee could tell at a weekend gathering. But this call came from the Kennedy White House, that place called "Camelot," which had seen the beginning of civil rights"sit-ins" and had sent troops to get a black man into a university in the Deep South. it was a White House that had used its influence to gain Martin Luther King's release from jail. perhaps the recipient of the call knew all of this and felt a bit like a person in a closed garage slowly filling with carbon monoxide. In any event, the reaction was predictable: something had better be done- and rather quickly. The innocuous-sounding call thus became something of an edict.
The air force swiftly launched a search for a black pilot with the right amount of flying time, the "right academic background, and one would could meet all the other stringent requirements." Fortunately, air force personnel officers didn't have to look too far, for it was about that time that Capt. Ed Dwight's application reached them. (p. 6)
When you go looking for something, you can usually find: even it means passing over more qualified opportunities or individuals.
|From the movie The Right Stuff: Were it not for Colonel Chuck Yeager actually judging Dwight by the content of his character (instead of the Kennedy Administration judging him by the color of his skin), he'd have been the first man on the moon|
The Kennedy Administration found their magic flying negro: the only problem was Dwight couldn't pass the requirements to be an astronaut. From Phelps book, we learn Colonel Chuck Yeager was the one man who dared judge Ed Dwight by the content of his character instead of giving him an immediate, Kennedy Administration approved pass because of the advantageous color of his skin:
Meanwhile, Colonel Yeager's dim view of Dwight's abilities grew. Yeager later maintained that Dwight's abilities were so lacking "we set up a special tutoring program to get him through the academics, as I recall, he lacked the engineering [background] that the other students had."
Yeager further observes that Dwight worked hard, as did his tutors, but adds that "Dwight just couldn't hack it... didn't keep up in flying." Yeager claims to have worked with Dwight on his flying, but he noted that "our students were flying at levels really beyond his experience. The only prejudice against Dwight," Yeager recalls, wagging a literary finger," was the conviction that he was not qualified to be in the school" in the first place. (p. 20)
For his trouble in not placing Dwight high enough in the training program, Yeager was called before multiple Civil Rights inquiries, who hounded him with a tenacity not seen until Eric "My People" Holder's Department of Justice got a hold of George Zimmerman.
This isn't a joke.
Yes, NASA at its earliest stages had already been infiltrated by the Black-Run America (BRA) virus. Had Kennedy not been assassinated, who knows how many more blacks would have been pushed into NASA? [Where We Were: A portrait of America on November 22, 1963 during the last innocent hours before John F. Kennedy was murdered, People Magazine, 9-28-1988]:
Waiting his turn at the helm of a flight simulator at a Boeing plant in Seattle, Ed Dwight, 30, sips his coffee in silence and listens as a dozen of his fellow astronaut-trainees banter among themselves. The first black accepted in the space program, Dwight feels like a pariah. Sure, some of the guys sidle up to him occasionally. He assumes they figure it might be to their advantage to stay on good terms with him, since President Kennedy has taken a personal interest in his career. But others, Dwight believes, have decided to give him the cold shoulder. Despite having logged more than 2,000 hours as an Air Force test pilot, Dwight himself sometimes jokes that President Kennedy "picked me out of a turnip patch" to become an astronaut. But he will never forget how deeply honored he felt in November 1961, when he received a personal letter from Kennedy asking him to apply for the space program. Come what may, he plans to prove himself worthy of his Commander in Chief's high regard.Ebony magazine would go deeper into just what the Kennedy Administration had with their token, hand-selected black astronaut candidate. [The Sculptor who would have gone into space, February 1984]:
Three days after the assassination Ed Dwight was unceremoniously dropped from the astronaut training program. "When my protector was killed, I was out," he says.
Dwight believes Kennedy’s death had everything to do with his doom as an astronaut candidate. “It was 100 percent the death of Kennedy,” he says. “Prior to Kennedy’s death I was living awfully high on the hog. I had a private secretary. I was sending out 5,000 press photographs a month, and I made 176 speeches the first year I was in [the astronaut training program at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.].” The Kennedy Administration tried to break away from the White-Protestant-male mold for its astronauts in the 1961 by including one black. (p. 56)Yes, John F. Kennedy and his negrophilic administration was promoting the blackness of Dwight to the tune of an unflattering chorus of silly propaganda.
Perhaps Tom Wolfe, writing in The Right Stuff, nails it best:
What finally got to Yeager, however, was the Ed Dwight case.
It had been early this year that Yeager got word from the brass that the President, John F. Kennedy, was determined that NASA have at least one Negro astronaut in their lineup. The whole process was to take place organically, however, as if in the natural order of things. Kennedy was leaning on the Defense Department, Defense was leaning on the Air Force brass, and they tossed the potato to Yeager. The pilot who had been singled out was an Air Force captain named Ed Dwight. He was to go through ARPS and be selected by NASA. The clouds developed soon enough. Dwight was enrolled in the basic flight test course along with twenty-five other candidates.
Only the top eleven students could enter ARPS's six-month space-flight course, which had limited facilities, and Dwight did not rank among the top eleven. Yeager didn't see how he could jump him over other young tigers, all of them desperate to become astronauts. Every week, it seemed like, a detachment of Civil Rights Division lawyers would turn up from Washington, from the Justice Department, which was headed by the President's brother Bobby. The lawyers squinted in the desert sunlight and asked a great many questions about the progress and treatment of Ed Dwight and took notes. Yeager kept saying he didn't see how he could simply jump Dwight over these other men. And the lawyers would come back the next week and squint some more and take some more notes. There were days when ARPS seemed like the Ed Dwight case with a few classrooms and some military hardware appended. A compromise was finally struck in which Dwight would be admitted to the space-flight course, but only if every man who ranked above him was also admitted. That was how it came to pass that the next class had fourteen students instead of eleven and included Captain Dwight. Meantime, the White House, apparently, was signaling to the Negro press that Dwight was going to be "the first Negro astronaut, " and he was being invited to make public appearances. He was being set up for a fall, because the chances of NASA accepting him as an astronaut appeared remote in any event.
The whole thing was baffling. On the upper reaches of the great ziggurat the subject of race had never been introduced before. The unspoken premise was that you either had the right stuff or you didn't, and no other variables mattered. When the seven Mercury astronauts had been chosen in 1959, the fact that they were all white and all Protestant seemed to be interpreted as wholly benign evidence of their Small-Town American virtues. But by now, four years later, Kennedy, who had been supported by a coalition of minority groups in the 1960 election, had begun to raise the question of race as a matter of public policy in many areas. The phrase "white Protestant" took on a different meaning, so that it was now possible to regard the astronauts as some sort of cadre of whites of northern European racial background. In fact, this had nothing to do, per se, with their being astronauts. It was typical of career military officers generally. Throughout the world, for that matter, career officers came from "native" or "old settler" stock. Even in Israel, which had existed for barely a generation as an independent nation and was dominated politically by immigrants from Eastern Europe, the officer corps was made up overwhelmingly of "real Israelis"—men born or raised from an early age in the pre-war Jewish settlements of the old Palestine. The other common denominator of the astronauts was that they were all first or only sons; yet not even this had any special significance, for studies soon showed that first or only sons dominated many occupations, including scholarly ones.
(In an age when the average number of children per family was barely more than two, the odds were two out of three that any male would be a first or only son. ) None of which was going to mollify the White House, however, because the astronaut, the single-combat warrior, had become a creature with greater political significance than any other type of pilot in history.(p. 338 - 340)Had John F. Kennedy not been assassinated, there is no doubt Ed Dwight would have been forced on the Apollo missions to the moon, and been the exalted first non-white to walk to on earth's satellite. In this alternate history of America, it's highly likely he'd have been the first black man elected president.
From its very inception, NASA had been infected with the BRA virus.
But thanks to a test pilot who stood his ground, Ed Dwight never got the chance to be pushed into being an astronaut; instead, he was just by the Kennedy Administration as the token black candidate, to parade before the media to showcase their anti-racist attitude.
Once Lee Harvey Oswald fired his rifle in Dallas, Texas on that November 1963 day, Ed Dwight's role as the magical space negro ended.