Photo credits: Smithsonian Magazine
Air Force Capt. Edward J. Dwight Jr. made international news on March 30, 1962, when he became the first African-American candidate for astronaut training. He was offered the chance by the Kennedy administration when Whitney Young (then-president of the National Urban League) endorsed him.
Unfortunately, Dwight endured a great deal of prejudice from other astronauts, which further intensified after President Kennedy’s killing. He never made it to space and was forced to withdraw from the program in 1966.
It was the start of a brand-new chapter in his life. Dwight’s dream as a youngster was to work as an artist, but his father urged him to pursue engineering. He worked as an engineer for IBM, as an aviation consultant, and started Dwight Development Associates Inc., a real estate, land developing, and construction firm, after his military service.
Additionally, he got a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Denver, with a concentration in sculpture. He now owns and manages Ed Dwight Studios Inc., a studio, gallery, and foundry in Denver that specializes in public art and monuments.