NASA was created mainly in response to the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957. NASA’s organization was well underway by the early years of Pres. John F. Kennedy’s administration when he proposed that the United States put a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s. NASA’s annual budget reached $5 billion in the mid-1960s and stood at almost $4 billion in 1969. 1961, NASA created the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
The image of a 1960s NASA astronaut is juxtaposed with a black and white video of the Selma to Montgomery protest marches, held in 1965, along the 54-mile highway from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery, Alabama. The marchers didn’t get far before Alabama state troopers wielding whips, nightsticks, and tear gas rushed the group at the Edmund Pettis Bridge and beat them back to Selma. The brutal scene was captured on television, enraging many Americans and drawing civil rights and religious leaders of all faiths to Selma in protest.
“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”
May 11, 1996 – Dr. Carl Sagan
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