Dr. Mae Jemison

Dr. Mae Jemison floating in zero gravity in a space shuttle

Dr. Mae Jemison, dancer and physician, was the first black woman to travel in space, as an astronaut on the space shuttle Endeavour in 1992, According to Webster’s Dictionary, a dream is a “series of thoughts, images or emotions occurring during sleep.” Nowadays, when we speak of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality, it seems like one of those gauzy images that have little to do with our waking life. But King’s dream wasn’t an illusive fantasy to Dr. Mae Jemison. It was a call to action. “Too often people paint him like Santa — smiley and inoffensive,” said the African-American woman who broke the racial barrier on the space shuttle Endeavour in 1992. “But when I think of Martin Luther King, I think of attitude and audacity.” Jemison said King’s action on his dream made her life possible. As a little girl growing up in Chicago, she’d gaze at the stars. “I could see myself in space when others couldn’t,” she said. “I had to learn not to limit myself because of others’ limited imagination.”