The Pioneer Plaque Is Racist: How Ebony’s 1969 Editorial on the Moon Landing Outlined the Future

Paul Kersey, SBPDL, December 10, 2012

For some reason, I was curious what Ebony magazine published in the months after the successful Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Well, the September 1969 issue of Ebony didn’t disappoint, proudly boasting this editorial [Giant Leap for Mankind?, Ebony, September 1969]:

When on July 20th at 10:56 p.m. EDT, Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong first set foot that new world, the moon, he spoke carefully, as if to be sure not to slur a single syllable, words which he knew would go down in history. “That’s one small step for man, he said and, after a slight pause, “One giant leap for mankind.” Armstrong and his fellow Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. walked on the surface of the moon. They proved that space suits would withstand the 250 degree heat of the lunar sun and that man could adjust to walking in the lesser gravity of the moon’s atmosphere. They proved that travel and living on other planets is within human accomplishment as they explored the “front porch” of outer space and planted the American flag in lunar soil. They proved that man’s space science frontiers are almost limitless and that it is now only a matter of time before man can journey to Mars, to Venus and beyond. Armstrong and Aldrin, like Columbus, opened doors to wider horizons for man. But is man ready for wider horizons?

The Doors Columbus Opened 

The daring Columbus opened doors to his world just as great for his time as the moon walkers did for ours. And, like the people of Columbus’ time, we may well not be ready for such progress. Columbus, unknowingly, gave to the rulers of Europe two huge and fantastically rich continents – North and South America. Columbus took the one small step for man but what about the “one giant leap for mankind?” What did the rulers do with his gift? The explorers of the new world were soon followed by the exploiters. Britain, Spain, and France, ignoring the “savages” who inhabited the lands across the sea, laid claim to every piece they could and eventually fought each other over it. The Europeans brought plague, measles, small pox, and venereal diseases to the natives and took back gold, silver and, eventually, rum, sugar, cotton, and potatoes.

White Christians despoiled Aztec and Mayan temples and carried precious religious artifacts back to Europe to grace the courts of kings and queens or to be melted down into gold and silver ingots. The men who followed the explorers were heartless conquistadores seeking on fortunes of war – and their were primarily against almost defenseless natives.

But What of the Settlers?

But what of the settlers who followed the explorers and exploiters? Didn’t they develop the land bring law and order to the wilderness? Actually, Columbus’ discovery of America eventually lead to one of the most infamous and long-lasting rapes of all history. Settlers in the Americas found that most profitable crops were sugar cane, cotton and tobacco and that they all required tremendous manpower. To fill this need, there developed in both North and South America a system of slavery of black people unmatched in the history of man. Literally millions of black people, men, women and children, were captured in Africa and transported like cattle to till the fields and harvest the crops in the Americas. If the machine age had not come along, it is entirely possible that black men would still be in actual slavery to this day.

What About Today? 

Man today is at the threshold of traveling throughout space, of visiting unknown star and perhaps eventually making contact with intelligent beings on other planets. But is earthman ready for this? The answer just has be “No.”

Astronaut Armstrong took “one small step for man” when he planted his left foot in the dust of the moon for the first time. But his “giant leap for mankind” is still in the future. As space scientists continue to explore the universe, what do they plan to say to any intelligent being they might find on Mars or Venus or any of the millions of other stars and planets in this universe?

Are they going to say, “We are from planet Earth. We have millions of people starving to death back home so we thought we’d drop by to see how you are faring.” Are they going to admit that the people of a nation such as the United States cannot get along because some are black and some are white?

Are they going to tell others that on Earth nations spend more on armaments and war than they do for housing, education, culture, and perhaps food? Are they ready to admit to Martians, Venusians or what have you that Earthmen lock their doors and bar their windows to keep fellow Earthmen from stealing their possessions? Will they admit that Earthmen who can send men to the moon cannot solve the problems of human transportation on earth? Are they going to tell of dishonest politicians, thieving city officials, bribed judges, incompetent teachers and ambitious citizens who will sell their birthrights for a mess of pottage?

 Let’s Wait Awhile 

There are many who object to the space program because they feel that the money could be better spent finding solutions to the problems mentioned above. But the money does not matter that much. Mankind today has proved that it can do just about whatever it wants to do. It can bring equality to all men in “one giant leap” it really wants to. It can solve the problem of world hunger. It can eliminate war.

But mankind won’t do any of these things and so, perhaps we should forget about trying to contact intelligent beings in outer space. After all, what can we say to them?

Am I wrong in stating that the editorial advice from Ebony magazine became the official policy of the United States government? Colleges and universities in America teach the exact same version of history that Ebony established in “Giant Leap for Mankind,” engaging in an ever-increasing orgy of anti-white rhetoric in the halls of higher education.

To think: just three years after this editorial appeared, Carl Sagan was somehow able to slip the “Pioneer Plaque” on board the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecraft. Perhaps the most racist example of white supremacy imaginable, the “Pioneer Plaque” is a pictorial message for extraterrestrials with several geometric symbols that would help an advanced civilization deduce the origins of the spacecraft. On the plaque is the image of naked white man and a white female, an unsettling reminder to the writers of Ebony of the true source of the genius behind all of the missions to space.

I first read about the “Pioneer Plaque” in a copy of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos some years ago. Now,  I find myself smiling at the thought that someday an advanced alien civilization might retrieve either the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecraft, decode the message, and send emissaries to make contact with what Ebony dubbed “earthmen”…

Of course, when the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecrafts were launched, Atlanta, Birmingham, Detroit, Memphis, Newark, Rochester, Baltimore, and even Camden were still cities; California was actually an American state; and the future for NASA appeared to be Mars, instead of outreach to Muslims.

Were these alien emissaries, summoned to earth by a peaceful message aboard the Pioneer 10 or Pioneer 11, to appear in 2012 America, they’d find a civilization mysteriously under the directive of an unsigned editorial from Ebony magazine.

Published back in September of 1969.

We could have been on Mars, but we had to fund Black-Run America (BRA).

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  • Michael_C_Scott

    The article includes the phrase “… the lesser gravity of the moon’s atmosphere.”

    Atmosphere and gravity are not really co-related, and the moon doesn’t have an atmosphere. Even my five year-old daughter knows there isn’t any air there, but then my daughter isn’t black.

    I’m suprised at one thing, however: the article did not include the word “disenfranchisement”.

    • SintiriNikos

      Good catch, I missed that. Their ignorance comes out with little to no coaxing on our part.

  • i am

    ““That’s one small step for man, he said and, after a slight pause, “One giant leap for mankind.” ”

    Actually he said: “That’s one small step for A man. – One giant leap for mankind.”

    • Nicholai Hel

      Ebony readers interpreted Armstrong’s words as “That’s one small step for a white man, a boot stomping black faces forever.”

  • Ebony Magazine…Another ungrateful, resentful, recipient of the opportunities afforded to them by America !

  • i am

    Why don’t the blacks build their own spacecraft? After all, Dr. Wernher von Braun stole rocket technology from Africa just before Hitler infected them with AIDS, and then left in his flying saucer (stolen from blacks) to live under the North Pole.

    • Biff_Maliboo

      I thought it was a flying pyramid.

      • The__Bobster

        I thought it was screwy Louie’s flying wheel in the sky.

        • Biff_Maliboo

          Ah, yes.

          Duh Muddaship.

          • SLCain

            Correction – a black spacecraft would be called “The Motherf**ker Ship”.

    • Ulick

      Your point is excellent and applied to anything that blacks argue. If your schools, neighborhoods, and jobs are worse — why don’t you create better jobs, schools, and neighborhoods?

      Deep down, they know the truth that they can’t. That’s why I always put that ball back in their court.

    • Exactly.

      If the black man conceived of space flight, engineered the rockets, programmed the computers, and took the risk of sitting on tons of explosive material, then I say let the black man design the sign he wants.

  • i am

    “…and the future for NASA appeared to be Mars, instead of outreach to Muslims.”

    NASA has outreached to Muslims because the Chinese shouldn’t have a monopoly on stealing our secrets.

    • Triarius

      Lol, your comments are top notch tonight.

    • Oil Can Harry

      The Middle Eastern nations were going to send female astronauts to Mars but cancelled their plans because their burkas wouldn’t fit over their spacesuits.

  • Regarding the reference to Columbus, they’ve been singing the same tune for at least the last 40 years.

  • David Ashton

    Think what the human elites could achieve without the huge welfare drag of the unproductive and unemployable, though also remember what the few problem-solvers have done for the many problem-people in terms of food, communications and medicine.

  • pcmustgo

    I actually know many a white liberal who think the space programs are a waste too. And obviously the military spending.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      Some military spending is wasteful. The government spent seven billion dollars developing the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter which was then cancelled by congress after two prototypes were built. It wasn’t a perfect helicopter, but a very good one. The money spent on development would have bought a very nice dinner out for everyone in the United States, but instead the army got two prototype helos that won’t ever be used for anything other than static display.

      I’ve been to war, and it turns out that the stuff one actually has is always better than the super-dooper goodies still on the drawing boards.

      • i am

        what about the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey?

        • Nicholai Hel

          The verdict is still out. Billions have been spent. Years have gone by. Lives have been lost. The Marines say the current version has most of the gremlins ironed out. Time will tell.

          • Michael_C_Scott

            A remarkably dumb one was the M-247 DIVAD self-propelled AA gun. This was a converted M-48 tank with a pair of 40mm cannon. Instead of simply purchasing West German “Gepard” flakpanzer turrets and fitting those to M-48s, the army developed an entirely new system, which routinely lost radar lock. Cancelled after 50 were built. The Japanese self-defense forces bought Gepard turrets and fitted them to Type-74 tanks to produce the completely successful Type-87.

            The M551 Sheridan light tank cost $300,000, mounted an unreliable gun/missile launcher and due to the caseless ammunition fired by this was horribly vulnerable to land mines and RPGs, which would immediately ignite the propellant charges. Production of this dog totaled 1662 units. The concept was a valid one, as the vehicle was light enough to be carried by a C-130. Cadillac designed the 105mm gun turret of their private venture Stingray light tank to fit as a drop-in replacement for the Sheridan’s turret, but the army never did this. In spite of the instant availability of this conversion, the army developed the M-8 “armored gun system” (light tank) to replace the Sheridan… which was then cancelled. The Sheridan was eventually replaced with the Stryker, which is a Canadian-made copy of the Swiss-designed MOWAG Piranha, at $ 4.9 million apiece.

            The M-1 Abrams, one of the world’s best tanks suffered a prolonged and expensive development that originally focused on essentially the same 152mm gun/missile launcher that plagued the Sheridan. Before the MBT-70 (the ancestor of both the M-1 and the Leopard II) had been cancelled, some $300 million in 1969 dollars had been spent. The following development work produced the XM803, an expensive vehicle no better than the M60 already then in service. The previous 120mm-armed US tank was the M-103, expensive, short ranged and heavy with a fragile drive train. The DoD perversely gave the M103 to the marines. There is still no dedicated high-explosive round for the Abrams’ 120mm gun.

            The navy’s M3 aircraft cannon fired 20mm X 110 ammunition, while the air force M39 and M61 aircraft cannon in service at the same time fired a completely different, non-interchangeable 20mm X 102 round. When defense secretary McNamera found this out, he went ballistic.

            Attempts to replace the M-16 rifle/M-4 carbine first with the advanced combat rifle and then the XM-29 OICW were expensive failures. After repeated and expensive attempts throughout the 1960s and 1970s to develop a lightweight squad automatic weapon for ground forces, the DoD gave up and adopted the Belgian-designed FN Minimi in 1982 as the M249, which they could have done as early as 1974.

            Production of the Elmo Zumwalt-class destroyers has been cut from 32 to ten and finally to three ships, which has resulted in sky-high unit costs, the $9.6 billion R&D costs being spread across a smaller production run.

            The F-22 Raptor program cost US $67 billion to develop the best fighter jet in the world, but the program was terminated after only 195 aircraft were manufactured.

            The family of MRAP mine-resistant vehicles are useful and well-liked in service, but a plethora of competing designs were purchased, several of which are too heavy to be carried by the C-130 Hercules, leaving air transport dependent upon the scarcer C-5 and C-17.

            The retirement of the four Iowa class battleships has left the marines without adequate offshore fire support. A version of the M270 MLRS rocket with a long booster stage could be produced as a four-pack that would fit the navy’s versatile Mark 41 vertical launch system installed in cruisers and destroyers, but this does not appear to have been tried. The navy also does not appear to have considered rebarreling their numerous existing Mk-45 127mm naval guns to 155mm, allowing them to fire the full range of army/marine corps ammunition, even though BAE Systems has already done work along these lines in Britain.

            It just goes on and on.

          • David Ashton

            Just cast your expert eye over the British “defense” programs!!!

        • Michael_C_Scott

          The Osprey cost a lot, but it is unique. It’s not perfect, but the capabilities it possesses are unmatched.

      • IstvanIN

        The waste is in most of the 900 plus overseas military bases we have, not in the military hardware we develop.

        • SintiriNikos

          Spot on! In something like 130 countries. The mind boggles. But if you argue to bring all these sevicemen home, you’re a horrible isolationist and a traitor! The correct word is non-interventionist. John Quincy Adams said America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. Jefferson: peace, commerce, honest friendship with all nations, but entangling alliances with none.

          Sometimes I think the Founders are aliens or advanced humans who have seen the future and basically warned against the dangers menacing the Republic. Or they were just phenomenally gifted, brilliant, and prescient individuals thats are to our modern elites what Caesar might have been to a common wood louse (a riff on a Mark Twain analogy from The Mysterious Stranger).

  • Biff_Maliboo

    Let’s not forget this ultimate tribute to the “Gibs Muh” mentality:

    • i am

      They think civilization is about sitting on their a– while whitey serves them. Some how whites are suppose to make their life easier. If they lived in Africa they would have things much worse than rats biting them.

    • David Ashton

      A rat bit his sister. My God, Wernher von Braun and Hermann Oberth, you have got a lot to answer for! Today the cosmos, tomorrow a downtown slum.

  • Fredrik_H

    “On the plaque is the image of naked white man and a white female, an unsettling reminder to the writers of Ebony of the true source of the genius behind all of the missions to space.”

    So I guess in order to satisfy the PC-powers-that-be, the next deep space probe plaque will feature a naked white woman serving a naked black man?

    • IstvanIN

      Maybe they should have included a copy of National Geographic on the probe.

    • Nicholai Hel

      Who knew Carl Sagan was such a white supremacist? I always thought he was a leftist. It’s time to rewrite history yet again…this time with an emphasis on Negritude and how white society unjustly punished the noble coloreds, squandering taxpayer fund on useless space science instead of gibsmedat. Also we need to send another plaque up with an apology for the first one.

  • The__Bobster

    Why go to Mars when those billions will support welfare breeders for a few days?

    • GM (Australia)

      Your comment explains exactly why we will neither be going to Mars nor even back to the moon anytime soon.

  • Terry

    We never landed on the moon. It was all a hoax. We couldn’t get passed the van allan radiation belt. It was all staged, and even Armstrong indirectly suggested it in one of his speeches.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      Let me guess; the only physics you ever took was Ex-Lax.

      The van Allen belt consists of charged particles trapped by the earth’s magnetic field. When an alpha particle (a stripped helium nucleus) impacts the thin metal skin on a spacecraft, it simply sticks to it without penetrating until the charge is neutralized. Beta particles (free electrons) are much lighter and faster, but even they won’t penetrate human epidermis, and hitting the metal skin of the Apollo capsules, they would do the same. It’s not x-rays or gamma rays!

      Crews of manned spacecraft were never in any danger from the van Allen belt.

    • GM (Australia)

      Will you still be saying that is a hoax when we see the Chinese land on the moon, probably some time soon? I remember being involved very small way (through my employment) in the whole Apollo program way back in the late ’60s, it was no hoax. It was exciting beyond belief, I still look back with pride at the part we played in making history.. Apart from the technology, mankind was looking outwards, not inwards, but even back then many TV viewers complained the the coverage of the moon landing had interrupted their soap operas.

      • Michael_C_Scott

        The spin off technologies alone were amazing for the time: light emitting diodes, infrared ear thermometers, the ventricular assist device, scratch-resistant lenses (originally for helmet visors), improved radial tires (with polymers originally developed for parachute shrouds), thermal spray-deposited dry lubricants, improved (ultrasonic) parts safety testing, structural analysis software, improved water purification techniques, temper foam padding for aircraft and automobile crash protection, new heat-resistant materials for fire safety, improved quality control in every sector of American manufacturing, and so-on.

        • David Ashton

          Well said. As a junior member of the British Interplanetary Society in my youth, I think this is a sufficient answer to “Sour Sambo” if one was needed.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      I did the math, and an Apollo mission would have exposed astronauts to about 0.5 rad of radiation dose, almost entirely solar radiation received outside the van Allen belt. This dose is about 1/50 of what would be needed to produce even slight detectable blood changes (mainly white blood cell count), so well within human tolerance.

      Of course, none of the missions were flown during solar flares, which would have killed an Apollo crew.

      Prolonged exposure in the van Allen belt would damage unshielded satellite electronics, but these are shielded for this very reason.

  • svartekaptenen

    Let me see if I understood this correctly, some person that works for this magazine has complained that these plaques on the moon and on these spaceprobes are racist, well the
    solution is easy, just tell them they are free to remove them at their leasure.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      Perhaps not “racist”, but simply accurate depictions of the race of people who built the probes in the first place. Africans are always free to launch their own space probes with their own plaques on them.

  • Rachel Matteson

    These are very interesting books. I am an avid reader and I read just about any book that looks promising especially those that have trivias or histories. –