Friday, November 13, 2020

TIL of Dr Ron McNair, astronaut, and public library legend.

McNair was born October 21, 1950, in Lake City, South Carolina, and in the summer of 1959, he refused to leave the racially segregated Lake City Public Library without being allowed to check out his books. 9 years old, and knew what was right, wrong, and stupid. 

He went out into the world, this beautiful world that often is marred by shitty narrowminded people that demonstrate the worst of what humans are capable of, and got a PHD from MIT, and joined NASA in 1978 when the shuttle program was in concept stage, where he was one of 35 astronaut candidates selected from a pool of 11,000 applicants to become a member of NASA's elite Space Shuttle program.

He crewed on the Challenger in 1984, and again, in 1986, on it's last flight. 

He must have been mentioned in the incredible play '73 Seconds', but I simply have a terrible memory, and can't recall what they said about any of the 7 people who died when the shuttle exploded over Florida. 

Incredible play that toured in the 2017 Fringe Fest. 

That library is now named for Ron McNair. 

The library that wouldn't let him check out books because caucasians in South Carolina in the 50s were some racist, narrow minded, ignorant, stupid people. Some were worse than that, others were just not concerned about being part of a system that wouldn't allow a brilliant kid to check out books from a library because he didn't look like his ancestors came from Europe. 

Frankly there were alot of people that didn't have a bit of common sense, some others decided it was fine to jail Asians that were living in the USA during WW2.  

None of the people in the American federal, state, or local governments seemed to have much of a problem with all of this racist behavior. Sadly, it's true that a lot of people are missing the component of living that causes them to think about things, be empathetic, brilliant, sympathetic, analytic, logical, smart, nice, terrific, generous, and terrific. It must be awfully easy to be a horrible human being. 

Dr Ron McNair was quite a great guy... he played the saxophone very well, and his lifelong commitment was to continue his quest to inspire and encourage students to dream big, work hard and accomplish their goals.

If universities with enormous financial resources felt the same, ponder what the results could be if kids that wanted to get a great education might accomplish with it.... 

Harvard has 38 billion dollars in the bank. Doing nothing. Harvard is ranked as the best university in the English speaking world, and probably is the best compared to all others also, but, who knows. 
The University of Texas has 30 billion. 
Yale has 29.3 billion, and is ranked 5th best university in the world
Stanford has 26 billion and is ranked 6th best university in the world
Princeton has 26 billon and is ranked 10th best university in the world
MIT has 16 billion, was founded by founded with money left by George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak.  
the University of Pennsylvania, co–founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1751, is ranked today as the 15th–best university in the world. The university is best known as the home of the Wharton School of Business.

All of the top 20 richest (by the amount of money in the bank) universities (except Texas) charges each student about 52 thousand dollars a year. None charge more than 59.5k.. Texas charges 38k


  1. Most of the money in those endowments probably came from alumni donating or bequeathing the money to the schools. Those alumni should demand that the schools do something useful with the money instead of letting it sit in the bank. Or they should donate their money somewhere else.

  2. He sounds like an awesome person. Who knows how many excellent minds were submerged under the force of racism?