Today is the 26th anniversary of the launch of the first brotha in space. And no, it wasn't Guy Bluford. His launch into space on the NASA STS-8 mission didn't occur until August 30, 1983.
That honor goes to Cuban cosmonaut Colonel Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendez. On September 18, 1980 he was launched into space as part of the Soyuz 38 mission from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Cuban Air Force pilot was selected on March 1, 1978 as part of the Intercosmos program the Russian (then Soviet) space program was conducting to allow fellow Eastern Bloc nations to take part in space exploration.
After docking with the Salyut 6 space station, Tamayo and his Russian counterpart Yuri Romanenko remained on board to conduct experiments into what causes a form of motion sickness in some space travelers called SAS or space adaptation sickness.
After 120 orbits of the earth covering a total of 7 days, 20 hours and 43 minutes, Tamayo and Romamenko executed a risky night landing. They returned safely to earth 180 kilometers from the city of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on September 26, 1980.
The Guantanamo born (January 29, 1942) Tamayo-Mendez was not only the first person of African descent into space, he was also the first Hispanic and the first person from a Western Hemisphere nation other than the United States to fly a space mission.
After his cosmonaut career he was promoted to brigadier general in the Cuban Air Force and settled into married life with his wife and two sons.