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How JFK made NASA his secret weapon in the fight for civil rights in America

Most Americans know the name of the first black player in professional baseball — Jackie Robinson. But how about the first black professional in the US space program? 

That was Julius Montgomery. He was part of a small cadre of African American mathematicians, engineers and technicians who helped power the space race — at a time when laws kept them from using the same toilet as their coworkers. (Later, he also integrated the Florida Institute of Technology.) These men were the vanguard of what became a government strategy to integrate the South.

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