The story of Ron McNair is now being told in a new format— animated.
It was 27 years ago Monday that Lake City native Ronald McNair died when the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff. McNair has been immortalized in South Carolina history after he overcame his background as an African-American growing up in segregated rural South Carolina to become an astronaut.
Now he’s the focus of a short internet cartoon by the nonprofit group StoryCorps, which takes audio from interviews and brings to life via animation the stories that the speaker is telling.
One particular story released Monday is entitled “Eyes on the Stars” and shows a 9-year-old McNair visiting a library that was for whites only. The cartoon is set to the audio of Ronald’s brother Carl McNair recounting the story. The cartoon shows McNair shocking the white patrons with his presense then shows a librarian calling the police and McNair’s mother after the boy tries to check out a book. A pair of police officers eventually allow young Ronald to rent the book.
The story also recalled how McNair was inspired by the television show “Star Trek,” and how it portrayed a future with African-Americans, Asians, and whites working together. An epilogue at the end notes the library featured in the story is now known as the Dr. Ronald E. McNair Life History Center.
Several of the more than 45,000 conversations recorded by StoryCorps since 2003 have been animated.