Johnson Space Center names 1st African-American deputy director

HOUSTON (AP) — Young Vanessa Wyche sat hunched over a piece of paper, drawing the childish outline of a U.S. president in crayon for a class assignment.

The Houston Chronicle reports when it came time to shade in the two-dimensional man’s face, Wyche instinctively reached for the brown crayon. It was her skin tone, after all: why couldn’t it be a president’s?

But her second-grade teacher was furious. It was the early 1970s and South Carolina schools had just been desegregated. A black man could not be president, her teacher said.

This exchange was the first time Wyche — now 54 and second in command at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston — can remember being openly belittled for her race by an authority figure. But it’s also the first time she can remember her…

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