Maj. Robert H. Lawrence Jr. named first Black Astronaut . Maj. Lawrence successfully completed the Air Force Flight Test Pilot Training School at Edwards AFB, California. In the same month (June 30, 1967) he was selected by the USAF as an astronaut in the Air Force's Manned Orbital Laboratory (MOL) program, thus becoming the first black astronaut. He was killed during a training flight later on the same year.
In 1947, Dr. Marie Daly became the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry when she graduated from Columbia University. A trailblazer in the field of biochemistry, Dr. Daly researched the connection between high cholesterol and heart disease.
Janet Collins was the first and only African American to become Prima Ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1951). That was almost 65 years ago and she alone today still holds that accomplishment.