My Favorite story about Ronald McNair
A Boy Obsessed With Space
At the age of nine, Ronald dreamed about space. One day in 1959, unbeknownst to his parents, he took a mile–long walk to his public library—a library only public if you were white.
Politely and proudly he stood in line to checkout his selected books but was met with opposition when the librarian refused to check out his books on the basis of his color. She threatened to call the police if he did not leave. His answer, “I’ll wait.” So, he propped himself on the counter and did just that.
Ronald’s mother arrived at the library at the same time as the officers. The librarian explained the situation to the officers to which one officer said, “Why don’t you just give the boy the books?” The librarian reluctantly handed over the books and Ronald’s mother said to him, “What do you say?’ ‘Thank you, ma’am,” he replied politely.
Years later Ronald would graduate from MIT with a PH.D. in physics and become the second African American in space. Sadly, he was one of the astronauts that died aboard The Challenger in 1986.
And that library that once refused to let him check out books has been restored and reopened under the name, “The Ronald McNair Life History Center.”
History Stories Series
On my Instagram stories I post a series called "History Stories" where I tell a brief history of a person I'm reading about, a place I'm fascinated with—basically anything my brain gets curious about.
I plan to do more series like this and would like to also post them here in a format that is more conducive to "The Archives", but until then I'll just be posting the story images that I posted on Instagram.