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Dwight, Edward(1933–) - Chronology, Transferred to Germany, Becomes a Sculptor

air force training pilot

1933

Born in Kansas City, Kansas on September 9

1951

Graduates Ward Catholic High School, Kansas City, Kansas (first African American male to graduate)

1953

Graduates Kansas City Junior College; joins U.S. Air Force

1955

Jet instructor, Williams Air Force Base, Arizona

1957

Graduates Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, B.S. aeronautical engineering, cum laude; B57 bomber pilot, Japan; stops teaching jet flying lessons

1958

Chief of collateral training, Strategic Air Command, Travis Air Force Base, California; no longer a bomber pilot

1961

Test pilot training program and candidate for astronaut training, Aerospace Research Pilot School, Edwards Air Force Base; no longer chief of collateral training, Edwards Air Force Base

1962

Appointed to the astronaut training school in 1962; graduates Aerospace Research Pilot School, Edwards Air Force Base; receives National Preparedness Award, Los Angeles Urban League; astronaut selection board recommends him to NASA

1963

Assigned to Bomber Operations, deputy for flight test, Aeronautical Systems Division, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

1966

Resigns from U. S. Air Force Service; no longer an employee at Wright Patterson AFB

1967

Co-founder, Jet Training School, Denver, Colorado

1977

Graduates University of Denver, Colorado, M.F.A. in sculpture

1980

Sculptor and owner, Ed Dwight Studios, Denver, Colorado

1987

Arizona State University, honorary L.H.D.

Transferred to Germany

Dwight and his eight classmates graduated from test pilot school in 1963, less than a month prior to Kennedy’s November 22 assassination. As a result, Dwight’s hopes of going into space began to fade. That fall the astronaut selection board to NASA selected two of Dwight’s classmates, Theodore C. Freeman and Captain David R. Scott. Freeman was killed shortly thereafter in a T-33 crash, and. Scott later participated in the Gemini 8 and Apollo 9 missions. Although Dwight was passed over, President Johnson promised him that he would serve in the space mission if he would stop talking to the press. Articles featuring Dwight’s complaints about racial discrimination in the Air Force angered President Johnson. He wanted Dwight to be silenced. Nevertheless, Dwight continued to discuss his plight. Days later, President Johnson ordered Dwight to serve as a liaison officer for a non-existent German test pilot school. Dwight was never officially notified that he was no longer in the space program. Dwight was then sent to Dayton, Ohio to work in Wright-Patterson’s bomber group, a place most graduates viewed as the worst possible assignment. At Wright-Patterson, his job was to sit at the desk and not be in the air. Dwight complained repeatedly about his assignment, and he visited Washington on several occasions to plead his case in vain before Pentagon officials and other influential people. Without the aid of Kennedy, Dwight had no support at all.

Dwight and his family were harassed on and off the base in Dayton. The harassment ranged from property damage to personal attacks. In an effort to find a good home for his family, he faced the same problems as other African Americans when seeking homes in predominantly white neighborhoods. At every realtor’s office he was met with comments suggesting that the property was unavailable for one reason or another. Finally, a Catholic layman, who had recognized Dwight from a picture he had seen on a church publication, offered to rent him a house in Huber Heights, a Dayton suburb. On a daily basis, the family was met with hostility. Dwight finally decided to move after a brick was thrown through a window and his daughter, Tina, was sprayed with glass. As the pressures of racism escalated, Dwight’s marriage to Sue ended in divorce. Upon winning custody of his son, Dwight III, and his daughter, Tina, Dwight took a second wife, a union that lasted a mere thirty days. He then took a third wife, Barbara, a childhood friend from Kansas City.

In June 1964, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. Riots broke out in many cities during that summer. An Air Force Base press release in February 1964 stated that neither NASA nor the Air Force considered Dwight as a candidate for future selection in aerospace projects. Newspapers across the country picked up on the story. In 1965, an article appeared in Ebony magazine chronicling Dwight’s troubles in the Air Force Space pilot training program. NASA issued a general statement indicating that Dwight was not omitted because he was not qualified, but because someone more qualified was selected ahead of him. NASA’s public information office also reported that 2.5 percent of their employees were Negroes.

In 1966, Dwight resigned his commission in the U.S. Air Force. The following year, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided that he wanted his own African American astronaut, Robert H. Lawrence, who was killed the same year during a simulated space ship landing at Edwards AFB. Lawrence became the first designated African American astronaut.

Dwight moved to Denver, where a not-so-profitable stint with a chain of restaurants he opened led him to become a realtor. He built condominiums and other property in Denver’s more exclusive areas, making him a millionaire by the early 1970s. By this time, Dwight had five children. He became the only black who could get a $100,000 loan, but that did not stop him from losing his property during the recession-torn mid-1970s. His wiser partners did not lose their properties because they sold them in time.

Dwight also co-founded the Jet Training School in 1967. One day the other six flight instructors took off in a plane without Dwight, who had stayed on the ground to complete a real estate deal. Minutes later the plane crashed, killing everyone aboard. After the accident, Dwight never flew again.

Becomes a Sculptor

By the mid-1970s, Dwight returned to a longstanding hobby, sculpting. In 1974, he created a sculpture of George Brown, the first black lieutenant governor of Colorado. Since few facts were known about early African American pioneers, Dwight used his unique artistic style to expose viewers to the unknown history of the American West. The thirty bronzes he created won him widespread acceptance and critical acclaim. In 1977, he attended the University of Denver, where he earned a master’s degree of fine arts in sculpting and taught for time. His artistic success, depicting African American pioneers of the West through sculpting, led him to create sculptures of other aspects of the African culture and ancestral imagery. Dwight became an acclaimed sculptor. As of the early 2000s he heads the Ed Dwight Studios Inc. in Denver and has produced bronze sculptures for both public installations and private collectors all over the world. Dwight has created over eighty public art commissions in his 25-year career. Among his most noted works are statues of Hank Aaron and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in Atlanta; the Frederick Douglas Memorial in Washington D. C; and six jazz figures at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. In 1986 he and a team of architectural firms were commissioned to design a ninety-foot installation to commemorate the 5,000 enslaved Africans and Free persons who served and fought as African American patriots in the Revolutionary War from 1776 to 1781 and tens of thousands of slaves of that era who ran away from slavery or petitioned for liberty, intended for the Mall in Washington near the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

His company, Ed Dwight Studios, Inc., developed into one of the largest single artistic production and marketing facilitates in the western United States. He has an innate ability to create life, breath, and mobility in his works. In 2001, he unveiled four major monuments, including the first bi-national monument in Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, Canada dedicated to the International Underground Railroad movement on the Capitol Grounds in Columbia, South Carolina, and a memorial to the first black legislator in Ohio, George Washington Williams, installed in the state capitol in Columbus, Ohio. Since his art career began in 1976, Dwight has become one of most prolific and insightful sculptors in the United States.

Dwight believes that the death of Kennedy had everything to do with his fate as an astronaut candidate. Since Dwight grew up in mostly white environments and private schools, he was bewildered over the discrimination problems he had experienced in the Air Force Space pilot training program. In an interview in Ebony in February 1984, Dwight described his fall into racism: “It’s like being out into a storm without knowing that it’s coming.” He described himself as naive, and summed up his space training as a nightmare.

Dyer, Sir Edward (1543–1607) - BIOGRAPHY, MAJOR WORKS AND THEMES, CRITICAL RECEPTION [next] [back] Duve, Christian (René) de

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over 6 years ago

Ed Dwight, Jr., became a Giant. His diligent study, discipline, self-confidence; and determination to win, has set a phenomenal standard as to what one can achieve through determination and consistency. I salute you, Ed Dwight...You are a Master in your arena. I invite you to come to - ISRAEL, to experience even greater and higher heights, in exploring and learning the Power of TRUTH, at the School of the Prophets, In Dimona, at the MARTIN LUTHER KING - BEN AMMI INSTITUTE FOR A NEW HUMANITY.



Remember in Dr. King's Final Prophetic Mountain Top Speech, wherein he said: "Well, I don't know what will happen now. We have got some difficult days ahead; but it really doesn't matter to me now; because I have been to the Mountain Top. I don't mind... Like anybody, I would like to live a long life; Longevity has it's place. But I am not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He allowed me to go up to the Mountain Top; and I have looked over - and I have seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you; but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will GET to the Promised Land.



So I am happy tonight... I am not worried about anything...I am not afraid of any man: Mine eyes have seen the Glory of the coming of the Lord."



I pray that you see and read my message and invitation to you. Please respond with whatever questions you may have. Your "once upon a time" employee. Carol Brown, a.k.a Zeherah.



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over 6 years ago

Ed Dwight, Jr., became a Giant. His diligent study, discipline, self-confidence; and determination to win, has set a phenomenal standard as to what one can achieve through determination and consistency. I salute you, Ed Dwight...You are a Master in your arena. I invite you to come to - ISRAEL, to experience even greater and higher heights, in exploring and learning the Power of TRUTH, at the School of the Prophets, In Dimona, at the MARTIN LUTHER KING - BEN AMMI INSTITUTE FOR A NEW HUMANITY.



Remember in Dr. King's Final Prophetic Mountain Top Speech, wherein he said: "Well, I don't know what will happen now. We have got some difficult days ahead; but it really doesn't matter to me now; because I have been to the Mountain Top. I don't mind... Like anybody, I would like to live a long life; Longevity has it's place. But I am not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He allowed me to go up to the Mountain Top; and I have looked over - and I have seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you; but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will GET to the Promised Land.



So I am happy tonight... I am not worried about anything...I am not afraid of any man: Mine eyes have seen the Glory of the coming of the Lord."



I pray that you see and read my message and invitation to you. Please respond with whatever questions you may have. Your "once upon a time" employee. Carol Brown, a.k.a Zeherah.



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about 2 years ago

My only comment is that Dave Scott's role in history is diminished greatly diminished by only mentioning his Gemini and Apollo 9 flight, and omitting his greatest achievement in Apollo 15. Why would the AUTHOR fail to mention one of the most successful missions in NASA's history?