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Today we recognize Philadelphian Derrick Pitts for our Black History Month Local History Makers!  

The Spotlight

Derrick H. Pitts is an American astronomer and the Chief Astronomer and Planetarium Director for the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • He has been named as one of the 50 most important African-Americans in research science.
  • He was the president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
  • He has made numerous television appearances, including shows such as The Colbert Report, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, and The Ed Show.

Dr. Pitts is a graduate of Germantown Academy, attended St. Lawrence University, and has received honorary Doctor of Science degrees from La Salle University and Rowan University College of Mathematics and Science.

Did You Know

Derrick Pitts was one of only three non-NASA guests invited to the White House “star party” on the South Lawn on October 7, 2009. Pitts set up the telescope near President Barack Obama’s podium; both the President and Michelle Obama used the telescope to see a rare “double-double” star on the occasion.  Some 150 school children in the Washington area were also guests at the party, which featured a number of telescopes set up for observation of the night sky. 

Active in the community, Derrick Pitts finds time to visit school classes and is a member of the Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated, Philadelphia chapter. His career has been recognized with one of Philadelphia’s highest honors, the Liberty Bell Award. He is also a recipient of the George Washington Carver Scientist of the Year Award and is a 2004 inductee into the Germantown Historical Society’s Hall of Fame.

Source: MyBlackHistory


Keep it locked all month for Black History Month Local History Makers!

Local History Makers: Derrick Pitts  was originally published on

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