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‘Guion’ Film Highlights Penn Stater Who Was First African-American In Space

As the calendar turns to February, it’s officially Black History Month. While you are certainly familiar with celebrated historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Frederick Douglass, the name “Guy Bluford” may not ring a bell.

As the first African-American in space, Penn State graduate Guion “Guy” Bluford is relatively unknown to the public, especially considering his significant place in the history of space exploration. A new short film, however, aims to put the spotlight on the Penn State alumnus.

Director Sagi Kahane-Rapport describes Guion as a “highly-character driven piece,” aiming to capture Bluford’s life story in a span of 15 minutes. Viewers have no need to worry about authenticity — Bluford shared his 90-page unpublished memoir with the production team, and he is reportedly enthusiastic to share his “Forrest Gump” with the Ryerson University-based filmmakers.

In the words of Kahane-Rapport, the film is a tale of “grit” that offers a glance into the struggle of balancing private life with the fame of space exploration. Guion, which is a crowd-funded project, is still in the nascent stages of production, but you can watch a trailer here.

Bluford was born on November 22, 1942 in West Philadelphia, and enrolled at Penn State upon his graduation from Overbrook High School. A highly accomplished academic, Bluford left Happy Valley with an aerospace engineering degree. The pursuit of a master’s degree led him to the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he eventually earned a Ph.D., as well.

In addition to his academic career, Bluford maintains his status as an eminent veteran, having piloted 144 combat missions during the Vietnam War. He has been recognized as a distinguished alumnus of Penn State, and he served as Grand Marshal for the university’s 2006 Homecoming celebration. Bluford is nothing short of an American hero, and an individual all Penn Staters should be proud of.

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