BLACK VOICES
02/28/2014 10:15 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2015

Mae Jemison, The First Black Woman In Space, On Empowerment And Being More Than Just A First

The first black woman in space, Dr. Mae Jemison, stopped by HuffPost Live to discuss what it means to be the first to accomplish a historic milestone, encouraging black people to get into STEM fields and the importance of empowerment.

In a blog posted earlier this week, the administrator of NASA, Charles F. Bolden, Jr., mentioned Jemison in the same sentence as icons including Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Nelson Mandela.

While honored for the mention, Jemison said she does not rest on the fete of what she's done. She moves the needle forward by continuing to think about how to contribute uniquely and be more than just on the list of firsts, and focuses on empowering other. Jemison said empowerment starts with believing in yourself, and taking the risk.

"I always like to remind folks, when they talk about empowerment there are three things that are needed," she said. "First of all, you have to believe that you have something to say. Then you have to understand that you have the right to say it. Then you have to risk going on and making it. Those are things that we as individuals can do. In the list of names that you saw, no one told Harriet Tubman and said you're empowered to go do this. In fact she was endangering her life every time she led a slave from the south to the north."

Watch a portion of the discussion with Mae Jemison in the clip above.

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