The astronaut and the politician

Posted on February 9, 2012


By Michaela L. Duckett

When Joan Higginbotham met Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell in September of 2009, she scarcely could have imagined that two and half years later they would be planning their nuptuals.

For starters, she was not into dating politicians.

“When he told me that he was an elected official, I didn’t necessarily see that as a plus,” Joan told in an exclusive interview. “I come from Chicago, and we have a long line of very interesting politicians.”

Plus, she had career concerns: Joan had just retired from a 20-year stint at NASA, where she made history as the third African American woman to rocket into space, and she had just taken a new position with Marathon Oil in Houston.

But love has its own devices. So after a night of dancing in Washington, D.C., the two began to think that maybe…just maybe…something special was about to take place.

Read their story on

Posted in: James Mitchell