Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Member

Pamela Mack

Committee Member

Joshua C Catalano

Committee Member

Orville V Burton


As NASA propelled mankind beyond the limits of the earth, women and African American employees fought against discriminatory structures and systems within the agency. Since its inception, NASA administrators and NASA’s black employees had a tenuous relationship. Black employees did not trust their supervisors, NASA Equal Employment Opportunity staff, or the discrimination reporting processes. Utilizing the case files of the class action lawsuit MEAN v Fletcher, new oral interviews, NASA EEO and administrative archives, and US Congressional hearings, this thesis argues that NASA was structurally and systemically racially discriminatory. NASA’s problems were similar to those at other technological agencies, both within the US and globally, but NASA lagged behind other US governmental agencies in both the number and the percentage of minority employees.



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