University Archives


Extraordinary Set of Official Apollo Manned Lunar Mission Emblem Patches, With Poster.

Enormous set of Official Apollo Manned Lunar Mission Emblem Patches in fine condition. The emblems commemorated the Manned Lunar Missions. All are prepared to specifications according to the terms of an exclusive contract with NASA. Sizes range from 4" diameter emblems to 3" emblems diameter emblem. Total of 62 patches with one youth football patch, and the original accompanying poster. From the collection of Elton Stepherson, one of the earliest Afro-American employees of Nasa.

Elton Stepherson Biography:

Space exploration became an important political instrument for carrying a dual message of American scientific and racial progress. For the space themed programming in Africa, like many USIA programs in the early 1960s, the agency hired African Americans as lecturers to blunt civil rights criticisms and present a more positive image of the United States in strategically significant countries. When Elton Stepherson, Jr., an African-American USIA Public Affairs Officer (POA), spoke to an audience of Guinean intellectuals and leaders, according to a USIA report, the Governor of Pita commented that Stepherson was living proof that "science is not the reserved domain of members of one race only." 32 Stepherson had grown up in Los Angeles and then traveled to Europe to study French language and African studies at the University of Paris. He joined the USIA in 1963, at age twenty-nine, to give lectures about the US space program in French-speaking African countries.33 Arthur Bardos, another POA, explained Stepherson's popularity in Guinea beyond the Governor's comments. Race, he said, "undoubtedly had some part in the warmth with which this attractive young Negro American was received everywhere."34 Stepherson's visit to Guinea was similar to the experience of other African-Americans who traveled abroad as part of USIA and State Department programming in the 1950s and 1960s. Whether they went overseas to give lectures on the space program or jazz performances, African-American diplomats were sent to demonstrate racial equality and universal opportunities of democracy in the United States, in addition to their official duties. 

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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