Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman and the first civilian to make it to space. This was 1963. It would be 20 years until another woman went into space. She was also Russian. By this time, the United States had female astronauts in training, but had yet to send one into the cosmos. When it happened, it was physicist Sally Ride. The first African-American woman would not launch into space until 1992.
Young adult sci-fi author and Louisville resident Olivia A. Cole has been thinking for awhile about where women fit in space travel. She wants to be sure that young women, particularly young women of color, understand that there is a place for women in the future and in space. For that reason, and also to promote her most recent novel, “A Conspiracy of Stars,” Cole is hosting a female-only art show called “Kindred: Making Space in Space” The show at St. Francis High School’s event space March 16 is open to Louisville women ages 10 to 21, and is inspired by Cole’s science fiction hero Octavia Butler whose bestselling novel, Kindred, was the inspiration behind the name of the show and to whom Cole refers as the “mother of science fiction.”
Butler’s work as an African-American woman was important for many reasons. The need for representation of color in the science fiction and fantasy worlds, where tropes of “orcs and elves” are often racist cover-ups for the notion of black people as beastly marauding monsters and our white counterparts as light, attractive and ethereal creatures. Butler imagined worlds that broke racial boundaries and stereotypes as well as those of gender and sexuality.Read More ›