First Black astronaut completes his mission 63 years later, becomes oldest man to go to space

VAN HORN, Texas — Ed Dwight always dreamed of being an astronaut.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy selected the Air Force captain as the first Black astronaut candidate to go into space. But when Kennedy was assassinated, Dwight’s dreams were put on hold. Until now.

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Blue Origin launched its New Shepard vehicle this weekend. Dwight was one of the six passengers on board.

“I thought I really didn’t need this in my life, but now I need it in my life. I am ecstatic,” he said.

The Air Force test pilot made history at 90 years old as the oldest man to travel into space. The experience made 63-year wait worth it for Dwight.

“I wish I had gotten that then, but it’s great, that’s all I can say. Absolutely fabulous,” he said.


Throughout the years, Dwight shifted his talents to another passion: Art. You can find his bronze sculptures all over the world and right here in Georgia.

On the Morehouse campus, Dwight created the bronze statue of Dr. Benjamin Mays and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1982, Dwight created the statue honoring home run king Hank Aaron, which still stands outside Georgia State stadium and the former Turner Field.

He was also commissioned to design the eight-foot bronze statue of civil rights icon Xernona Clayton in downtown Atlanta.

With his many accomplishments as an author, artist and Air Force test pilot, Dwight convinced himself he didn’t need to go into space. But the experience made 63-year wait worth it for Dwight.

“It was a life-changing experience. Everybody needs to do this.”

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