I wrote this for Vanity Fair online. With generous help from Nell Scovell, I got it published. Check it the hell out.

I believe it was Ken Burns who observed that documentarians are the most important people in the known universe. But as a humble member of the esteemed Documentarian Community, I’ve always had my doubts about that statement. Today, with some embarrassment, I must admit that my humility may have been misplaced. There is now overwhelming evidence that my award-qualifying 2003 documentary, The Old Negro Space Program, has influenced, if not goaded, President Obama into nominating General Charles F. Bolden. Jr. as the first African-American to lead NASA.


5 Comments so far

  1. Jim Rodgers on June 26, 2009 7:25 pm


    The Old Negro Space Program was BRILLIANT!!! Man, I’m a huge fan of Ken Burns, but that was a fantastic parody. A good friend sent me the video link, and after watching it, I will be watching for anything you do, my friend. That was sheer genius, and I salute you.

    Jim Rodgers

  2. John Williams on July 2, 2009 4:31 am


    Old Negro Space Program was fantastic. loved the part where the blacksronaut went on fire landed in tree

    John Williams

  3. David on July 13, 2009 7:21 am

    Despite press black blackouts, this history is quite well-known outside the US and is why many of the blackstronauts and their engineers were recruited into overseas space programs.

    Today, those same people, many of them beyond normal retirement age, are called on, under the UN-sanctioned obligations of the International Space Station (ISS), to spend periods of time ‘up there’.

    Their experience from the days of running complex programs on a shoestring, are the reasons countries such as Haiti, Angola, Zimbabwe and Greenland are able to provide astronauts to the program.

    It is time that NAASA gets its due recognition in its homeland.

  4. Robert Meyer on October 16, 2010 4:08 pm

    Andy, maybe you can clarify a bit of the history for me. If JFK and RFK were so worried about the Negroes beating NASA to the moon, why didn’t they NOT let the Negroes have NASAs’ discards to enable the Negroes to cobble together their rockets? … just wondering. Thanks.

  5. Andy Bobrow on October 18, 2010 3:42 pm

    Well there are two possible explanations: One, the parts were taken on the sly, or Two, I screwed up.

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