Space Quote: The James Webb Space Telescope Keeps its Name

Image (Credits): Artist’s impression of the James Webb Space Telescope. (Northrop Grumman)

“In conclusion, to date, no available evidence directly links Webb to any actions or follow-up related to the firing of individuals for their sexual orientation. However, the research and this report make clear that the Lavender Scare was a painful chapter in our national history. Every effort was made to be as thorough in research and objective in analysis as possible. We must make great efforts to learn from the experience to guarantee that the core values of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion are advanced, not only at NASA, but across the federal government. Only then can we ensure that dark episodes such as the Lavender Scare remain our history and not our future.”

-Concluding statement from the NASA Chief Historian’s report on James Webb, titled NASA Historical Investigation into James E. Webb’s Relationship to the Lavender Scare. As the reports notes, “The central purpose of this investigation was to locate any evidence that could indicate whether James Webb acted as a leader of or proponent for firing LGBTQ+ employees from the federal workforce.” It is sad summary of the federal government’s treatment of its gay employees following World War II, which represents a dark chapter in American history that we only recently left behind.