While NASA Was Landing on the Moon, Many African-Americans Sought Economic Justice Instead

By Bryan Greene | Smithsonian.com

In anticipation of astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon, an estimated 8,000 New Yorkers gathered in Central Park, eager to celebrate the moment. The New York Times ran a photograph of the crowd glued to the networks’ broadcasts on three giant screens and described the event as “a cross between a carnival and a vigil.” Celebrants came dressed in white, as encouraged by the city’s parks department. Waiting for the big show, they listened to the Musician’s Union orchestra play space-themed music and watched student artists dance in a “Moon Bubble,” illuminated by ultra-violet light.

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