SpaceRACE: a documentary film about
America's first 2 black astronauts

1960s America symbolized a decade of change, fomenting ideas of a counter culture revolution, the threat of nuclear annihilation and outspoken black leaders from Martin Luther King to Muhammad Ali. For some, however, the most threatening image was a black man in a space suit. The first black men to become astronauts have been erased from the pantheon of space explorers.

Much is known about famed test pilot turned astronaut John Glenn, who in 1962 became the first American to orbit the earth but for a time, it was well-guarded secret that in 1963 President John Kennedy personally appointed black test pilot Capt. Edward Dwight, Jr to become America's first black astronaut. Dwight was subsequently washed out of the space program following Kennedy's assassination. In June 1967, the brilliant Air Force pilot and chemical engineer, Dr. Robert H. Lawrence was chosen for an 'Astro Spy' program to gather intelligence on Russian military capability from space.

In December 1967 Dr. Lawrence died in a plane crash in 'unusual' circumstances. The first African American would not reach space until 1983.

SPACE RACE is a documentary film about these men and what happened to their careers when the Cold War clashed with the Civil Rights Movement.

Capt. Edward Dwight, Jr.

Edward Dwight, Jr was one of the first African American astronaut candidates for what is now NASA. Dwight joined the Air Force in 1953 as a test pilot. After earning his aeronautical engineering degree, Dwight was referred to President John F. Kennedy as a space candidate by Harry Belafonte and Whitney Young.

Maj. Robert H. Lawrence

Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr (1935-1967) was a United States Air Force Officer, considered the first African-American astronaut after Edward Dwight's resignation under duress 4 years earlier. In June of 1967 Lawrence was chosen as astronaut in the Air Force's Manned Orbital Laboratory, a spy mission for the CIA.