Perceptions of African American Women
Perceptions of African American Women
I am taking some classes that will eventually qualify me to major in Astro – Physics, or Chemical engineering, I also want to work with NASA and train as an astronaut. It was amazing to know that Dr. Mae C. Jemison who happens to be the youngest of three children born to a middle class African American family, Charlie Jemison, a maintenance worker and his wife, Dorothy, a teacher. Dr. Mae C.
Jemison was the first black woman astronaut to be in space in an era filled with segregation and racism, she is a Chemical engineer, scientist, physician, teacher and astronaut, she has a wide range of experience in technology, engineering, and medical research. In addition to her extensive background in science, she is well-versed in African and African-American Studies, speaks fluent Russian, Japanese, and Swahili, as well as English and is trained in dance and choreography. Dr. Mae C.
Jamison was an inspiration to me, and probably to many African American women. She was full of resilience and determination especially to have reached and achieved success in an unusual field of endeavor for many African American women, I applaud her determination to make a difference among the African American women and blacks in Diaspora. After graduating from Morgan Park High School in 1973 at the age of 16, Dr. Mae Jemison earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University, while also fulfilling the requirements for a BA in African-American Studies.
After earning these degrees in 1977, she attended Cornell University and received a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1981. During medical school she traveled to Cuba, Kenya and Thailand, providing primary medical care to people living there. This is an indication of her humanitarian efforts and eagerness to reach out to the less privileged population. Having a desire to do more with her life, she enrolled in graduate classes in engineering and applied to NASA for admission to the astronaut program.
She was turned down on her first application, maybe because she is a black woman, but she persevered and in 1987 was accepted on her second application. She became one of the fifteen candidates accepted from over 2,000 applicants. When Dr. Mae Jemison successfully completed her astronaut training program in August 1988, she became the fifth black astronaut and the first black female astronaut in NASA history. In completing her first space flight, Dr. Mae Jemison logged 190 hours, 30 minutes, 23 seconds in space, making her the first African-American woman in space.
She says, “I had to learn very early not to limit myself due to others’ limited imaginations. I have learned these days never to limit anyone else due to my limited imagination. ” This is an inspiration to other blacks in general who normally assume a second class citizen and believe that they will never do well or will be appreciated in whatever they do. This is a wake-up call, and manifestation of the saying “Determination is the mother of invention”. In 1993, Dr. Mae Jemison resigned from NASA and founded the Jemison Group, Inc.
to research, develop and implement advanced technologies suited to the social, political, cultural and economic context of the individual, especially for the developing world. Current projects include: Alpha, (TM) a satellite based telecommunication system to improve health care in West Africa; and The Earth We Share, (TM) an international science camp for students ages 12 to 16, that utilizes an experiential curriculum. Among her current projects are several that focus on improving healthcare in Africa. She is also a professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College.
Dr. Mae Jamison made a name for herself and name for blacks in general; Her entrepreneurial spirit put her in the limelight and acts as a boost to determined black men and women in Diaspora. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. It was quite surprising to read about Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, I know almost nothing about this “giant and queen of modern Africa” who is presently the current president of Liberia. According to what I have read so far about this “queen of Africa” she was born In Monrovia, the capital of Liberia on October 29, 1938.
During this period, Liberians had no clue that the First female president of an African country had been born into their mist. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is a daughter to descendents of original colonists of Liberia (ex-African slaves from America, who promptly on arrival set about enslaving the indigenous people using the social system of their old American masters as a basis for their new society). These descendents are known in Liberia as Americo-Liberians.
From what I read, I noticed that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was truly an intellectual power house, a charismatic leader and destined to make a change in Liberia and contribute her quota in Africa. From 1948 to 1955 Ellen Johnson studied accounts and economics at the College of West Africa in Monrovia. After marriage at the age of 17 to James Sirleaf, she travelled to America (in 1961) and continued her studies, achieving a degree from the University of Colorado. From 1969 to 1971 she read economics at Harvard, gaining a masters degree in public administration.
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf then returned to Liberia and began working in William Tolbert’s (True Whig Party) government. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf also served as Minister of Finance from 1972 to 73, but left after a disagreement over public spending, this is an indication of her prudence and will power. As the 70s progressed, life under Liberia’s one-party state became more polarized to the benefit of the Americo-Liberian elite. On 12 April 1980 Master Sergeant Samuel Kayon Doe, a member of the indigenous Krahn ethnic group, seized power in a military coup.
With the People’s Redemption Council now in power, Samuel Doe began a purge of government. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf narrowly escaped – choosing exile in Kenya. From 1983 to 1985 she served as Director of Citibank in Nairobi. I will say that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had a lot of courage, because it was quite unusual for a woman to challenge a dictatorial incumbent president in Africa without being kidnapped, tortured or killed in the process, although She was later sentenced to ten years in prison.
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf spent just a short time incarcerated, before being allowed to leave the country once again as an exile. During the 1980s she served as Vice President of both the African Regional Office of Citibank, in Nairobi, and of (HSCB) Equator Bank, in Washington. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf played an active role in the transitional government as the country prepared for the 2005 elections, and eventually stood for president against her rival the ex-international footballer, George Manneh Weah.
Despite the elections being called fair and orderly, Weah repudiated the result, which gave a majority to Johnson-Sirleaf, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf eventually became Liberia’s first elected female president, as well as the first elected female president in the continent Africa. . In 2005 She established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission with a mandate to “promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation” by investigating more than 20 years of civil conflict in the country and in November 2007, she received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.
S. government’s highest civilian award. She is truly a giant and “queen of modern Africa”. References: 1. http://space. about. com/cs/formerastronauts/a/jemisonbio. htm 2. http://www. k-grayengineeringeducation. com/blog/index. php/2008/09/12/first-african-american-women-in-space. 3. http://www. joinafrica. com/africa_of_the_week/ellenjohnsonliberia. htm.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 19 December 2016
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