WTF Fun Fact 13034 – The Ronald McNair Library Story

Google sees quite a few searches for the Ronald McNair library story. And this one is true.

Ronald McNair library story

In 1959, a nine-year-old Black child named Ronald McNair walked into a segregated library to check out a calculus book. The librarian threatened to call the police if he didn’t leave. The young aspiring astronaut waited while the librarian called the police and his parents. It appears he was eventually allowed to check out the book after the officer asked the librarian why she wouldn’t just give him the books.

Ronald McNair, astronaut

That same boy would go on to get a Ph.D. from MIT and earn 4 honorary doctorates. A NASA program supported by Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols designed to attract more people of color recruited McNair, and his dreams of becoming an astronaut came true. He was the second African American to go to space.

Sadly, one of his missions was aboard the space shuttle Challenger, which famously disintegrated 73 seconds after takeoff, killing its whole crew.

His original burial place was Rest Lawn Memorial Park in his hometown of Lake City, South Carolina. The city moved to the city’s new Ronald E. McNair Memorial Park in 2004.

And that’s not the only site people named in his honor. The library that tried to refuse him that calculus book as a boy is now named after him as well – it’s called the Ronald McNair Life History Center.

Other interesting facts about Ronald McNair

McNair was more than a hometown hero and NASA trailblazer. He was a nationally-recognized laser physicist, a 5th-degree black belt in karate, the first member of the Bahá’í Faith to go to space, and a talented saxophonist.

McNair also has a crater on the moon and a building at MIT named after him. He also has two dozen U.S. K-12 schools named after him.  WTF fun facts

Source: “‘Black in Space’ Looks at Final Frontier of Civil Rights” — Snopes

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