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Astronaut Ronald McNair smiles while holding a film slate. He wears a name badge that says Cecil B. McNair.

The Space Race

  •   Lisa Cortés, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza
  •   United States

Pioneers in civil rights and outer space, Black astronauts like Guion Bluford, Victor Glover, and Chicago’s own Mae Jemison boldly ventured where no Black Americans had ever gone before. The Space Race is the untold story of their adventures in flight and the social forces they endeavored to transcend. Anchored by the story of Ed Dwight — who was handpicked by JFK to be the first African-American in space before he was dropped from the mission — the film chronicles the personal and political battles these pioneers encountered through the decades.

Filled with rich historical footage and candid interviews with many self-proclaimed  “Afronauts,” the film connects their ambitions with cultural forces like the Black Power movement and the Afrofuturism of icons like musician Sun Ra and author Octavia Butler. Expansive, moving, and uplifting, the film is a profound act of reclamation, giving voice to a group of trailblazers, who have been largely missing from the official history — until now.

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Special Guests

Scheduled to attend: Directors Lisa Cortés and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza


Documentary Program Sponsors

Logo: WTTW (2019)Cynthia Stone Raskin

Black Perspectives Program Sponsors

logo: Allstate 199x50

Live Captioning

Logo: Caption Consulting 164x150

Event Information

Sunday, October 15, 2023

  •   91 minutes
Chicago History Museum
1601 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614 United States



Cinema/Chicago is committed to fostering an inclusive and accessible environment at all our programs and events. All event venues are fully wheelchair accessible, with no-step entrances or ramp access and elevators. All venues offer wheelchair-designated spaces, companion seating, easy-access theater seating, and accessible restrooms. For accommodation requests, please email us at access@chicagofilmfestival.com, call us at 312-683-0121, x108, or complete our Accommodation Request Form.

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