NYT: Julius Montgomery, Who Broke a Space-Age Race Barrier, Dies at 90

Julius Montgomery is another name history will remember for an extraordinary life lived. Katharine Q. Seelye recently profiled his accomplishments in The New York Times following his passing:

In 1956, he had become the first African-American who was not a janitor to be hired to work at the Cape Canaveral space facility in Florida. He was part of a team of technical professionals, known as “range rats,” who repaired the electronics in malfunctioning ballistic missiles and satellite equipment.

Two years later, his team wanted to start a school to keep the space workers up-to-date. Brevard Engineering College, as it was to be called (Cape Canaveral is in Brevard County), planned to lease classrooms at a public junior high school near the space center.

America’s ugly history with racism got in Montgomery’s way, however, when he applied to attend the college. He selflessly stepped aside so the college could open.

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