Dart Adams Remembers Challenger Astronaut Ronald McNair
Today is one of those days that we acknowledge the anniversary of a tragic event. 30 years ago today, many of us witnessed the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. While it was a national day of mourning it hit me and my community and Boston doubly hard as two of the seven astronauts had local ties. Christa McAuliffe was born in Boston and lived in Framingham, MA for the first 22 years of her life before moving to Maryland with her husband and Ronald McNair lived in Boston’s South End/Lower Roxbury neighborhood as he pursued his Ph.D in Physics from MIT in Cambridge, MA.
While Ronald McNair lived in Boston he also taught the young people of the South End and Roxbury karate as he was an accomplished martial artist himself. He was a black belt who was an accomplished competitive martial artist as well as an instructor. In 1976, he even won an AAU Karate gold medal in Joplin, MO after graduating from MIT. Ronald McNair was the stuff of legend to me as a child. I heard about him sitting in and playing his saxophone during sets at legendary Jazz club Wally’s in my neighborhood. I heard about his scientific mind and that he was a pioneer in laser technology at nearby MIT in addition to being an accomplished thinker/philosopher, public speaker/lecturer, scientist, musician & a martial artist.