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Ed Dwight, Sculptor of Lincoln’s Soldiers’ Memorial, Becomes Oldest Astronaut at 90

Abbey Tauchen | May 30th, 2024

At 90 years old, Ed Dwight, the sculptor of Lincoln University of Missouri’s Soldiers’ Memorial, has become the oldest person ever to journey into space.

Before he was a sculptor, Dwight was an Air Force pilot who was nominated as a candidate for NASA’s early astronaut corps in 1961, but he was not selected for the 1963 class, which included astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. NASA did not select Black astronauts until 1978, and in 1983, Guion Bluford became the first African American in space.

Six decades later, Dwight finally realized his dream of space travel. His seat was partially sponsored by Space for Humanity, a Denver-based nonprofit. Below, check out the Blue Origin feature video on Ed Dwight. 


Dwight is a Kansas City, Kansas native, whose early interests in mechanics led him to enlist in the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Kansas City Junior College with an engineering degree in 1953. Rising to the rank of captain, he later transitioned to various roles in Denver before pursuing his passion for sculpting.

Dwight was commissioned by Lincoln University in 2005 to create the Soldiers’ Memorial Plaza, which was completed by 2007. Standing at 18 feet tall, the sculpture captures the transformation of soldiers from the 62nd and 65th regiments into students, serving as a poignant tribute on the LU campus to those whose sacrifices paved the way for future generations.

In addition to the Soldiers’ Memorial Plaza, Dwight’s artistic legacy includes sculptures of Frederick Douglass, the Underground Railroad, Denmark Vesey and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., each piece a testament to his commitment to honoring Black history.

Read more about Ed Dwight.

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