Mae C. jemison
Mae Carol Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama. on October 17, 1956, the youngest child of Charlie Jemison and Dorothy Green. Her father was a maintenance supervisor for a charity organization, and her mother worked most of her career as an elementary school teacher of English and math at the Beethoven School in Chicago. According to a DNA analysis, she descended from people of Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Senegal. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, when Jemison was three years old, to take advantage of better educational opportunities there. Jemison says that as a young girl growing up in Chicago she always assumed she would get into space. "I thought, by now, we'd be going into space like you were going to work. She said it was easier to apply to be a shuttle astronaut, "rather than waiting around in a cornfield, waiting for ET to pick me up or something. In her childhood, Jemison learned to make connections to science by studying nature. "It sounds a little gross, but I was fascinated with pus," Jemison said. Once when a splinter infected her thumb as a little girl, Jemison's mother turned it into a learning experience. She ended up doing a whole project about pus. Jemison would not let anyone dissuade her from pursuing a career in science. "In kindergarten, my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told her a scientist," Jemison says. "She said, 'Don't you mean a nurse?' Now, there's nothing wrong with being a nurse, but that's not what I wanted to be Jemison says she was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.; to her King's dream was not an elusive fantasy but a call to action. "Too often people paint him like Santa -- smiley and inoffensive," says Jemison. "But when I think of Martin Luther King, I think of attitude, audacity, and bravery. Jemison thinks the civil rights movement was all about breaking down the barriers to human potential. "The best way to make dreams come true is to wake up.