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You might not know it, but the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. have some pretty strong connections to NASA and space travel.

Earlier this year, we at WatchTheYard.com wrote a story on how the movie “Hidden Figures” starring Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe and Octavia Spencer is based on three Black female mathematicians who began working for NASA in the 1950s and charted the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit during the Space Race from Virginia during segregation and how all three were members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. But did you know that the first Black woman in outer space also is a member of the Black sorority?

It is true, Mae Jemison became the first Black woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.

Dr. Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama in 1956 and enrolled at Stanford University at the mere age of 16-years-old. She finished medical school and did brief general practice then served in the Peace Corps in Liberia and Sierra Leone from 1985 until 1987.

Jemison’s had always had an interest  in space and has stated that her inspiration was African-American actress Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek and also happens to be a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  In 1987, she received the news of her acceptance into NASA’s astronaut program as one of fifteen candidates chosen out of roughly 2,000 applicants.

mae_jemison_in_space

 

 

Dr. Jemison was in space between the 12th and 20th of September, 1992. In that time, she worked on bone cell research and experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness. 

Among her personal baggage on the mission, Jemison, who loves dance, brought a poster from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a photo of Bessie Coleman(the first Black woman to fly an airplane) as well as objects from West Africa to symbolize that space belongs to everyone. In true Alpha Kappa Alpha spirit, she also carried an Alpha Kappa Alpha banner with her into space.

Dr. Jemison resigned from NASA in 1993. She holds nine honorary doctorates and is a college professor. Just a year after her flight, she appeared in a guest role on one of her favorite shows, Star Trek after being invited by LeVar Burton who played Geordi La Forge.

Top: Dr. Jemison with LeVar Burton | Bottom: Dr. Jemison with her AKA soror Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols

Top: Dr. Jemison with LeVar Burton | Bottom: Dr. Jemison with her AKA soror Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols

On February 17, 2008, Jemison was the featured speaker for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.  Jemison’s space suit is a part of the sorority’s national traveling Centennial Exhibit. 

Jemison is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

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AKAs

This Alpha Kappa Alpha Member is Making History by Opening the First Chick-fil-A in Downtown Los Angeles

Ashley Derby, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Spelman graduate, made history in 2011 when she became the youngest African-American female franchise owner in the history of Chick-fil-A at 26 years old. She making history again by bringing the franchise to downtown Los Angeles.

Derby is an Atlanta native who started working at Chick-fil-A as a teenager to save money for a car. She stuck with the company through her undergrad years at Spelman. Because of her boss’ advice, Derby switched her major to focus on economics and applied for leadership roles at the restaurant.

Credit: Chick-fil-A

In undergrad, she was initiated into Spelman’s Mu Pi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

With my girls in spirit this year – Happy SpelHouse Homecoming! 💙❤️ #Spelman

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After graduating, Derby did three years of management and development programs for Chick-fil-A before opening a franchise near the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

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AKAs

The AKAs at Southeastern Louisiana University Just Did a Law & Order Themed Yard Show

The ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha at Southeastern Louisiana University just did a Law & Order themed yard show to start off their fall semester!

COURT IS NOW IN SESSION! The Illustrious Lambda Omicron Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha at Southeastern Louisiana University presented their first Fall 2017 “Pretty Wednesday” yard show after 9 years of coming back to the campus.

Watch Lambda O’s Law & Order: Kase Klosed yard show presentation below!


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AKAs

The AKAs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Are STUNNING

The women of Alpha Kappa Alpha at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are STUNNING.

The ladies Spring 2015 line of the Iota Phi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. recently celebrated their AKAversary and they teamed up with photographer was Don Lundy from Lundy Lenses (@lundylenses), a member of the Kappa Kappa chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi to take some amazing pictures.

Check out the photos from their photo shoot below!

  

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