Request Line: (870) 277-1080 [email protected]
Text Your Gift to KLEK1 to 44-321 LEARN MORE

Your Community Radio Station is possible thanks to this supporter!  Become an underwriter.

NASA’s Headquarters to be Renamed in Honor of its 1st Black Woman Engineer, “Hidden Figure” Mary W. Jackson

Written by Good Black News

June 25, 2020

NASA announced Wednesday the agency’s headquarters building in Washington, D.C., will be named after Mary W. Jackson, the first African American female engineer at NASA.

Jackson started her NASA career in the segregated West Area Computing Unit of the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Jackson, a mathematician and aerospace engineer, went on to lead programs influencing the hiring and promotion of women in NASA’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers. In 2019, she was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

“Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. Mary never accepted the status quo, she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

“Today, we proudly announce the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building. It appropriately sits on ‘Hidden Figures Way,’ a reminder that Mary is one of many incredible and talented professionals in NASA’s history who contributed to this agency’s success. Hidden no more, we will continue to recognize the contributions of women, African Americans, and people of all backgrounds who have made NASA’s successful history of exploration possible.”

Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building in Washington, D.C (Credit: NASA)

The work of the West Area Computing Unit caught widespread national attention in the 2016 Margot Lee Shetterly book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. The book was made into a popular movie that same year and Jackson’s character was played by award-winning actress Janelle Monáe.

“We are honored that NASA continues to celebrate the legacy of our mother and grandmother Mary W. Jackson,” said, Carolyn Lewis, Mary’s daughter. “She was a scientist, humanitarian, wife, mother, and trailblazer who paved the way for thousands of others to succeed, not only at NASA, but throughout this nation.”

Jackson was born and raised in Hampton, Virginia. After graduating high school, she graduated from Hampton Institute in 1942 with a dual degree in math and physical sciences, and initially accepted a job as a math teacher in Calvert County, Maryland.

She would work as a bookkeeper, marry Levi Jackson and start a family, and work a job as a U.S. Army secretary before her aerospace career would take off.

In 1951, Jackson was recruited by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which in 1958 was succeeded by NASA. She started as a research mathematician who became known as one of the human computers at Langley. She worked under fellow “Hidden Figure” Dorothy Vaughan in the segregated West Area Computing Unit.

After two years in the computing pool, Jackson received an offer to work in the 4-foot by 4-foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel, a 60,000 horsepower wind tunnel capable of blasting models with winds approaching twice the speed of sound. There, she received hands-on experience conducting experiments.

Her supervisor eventually suggested she enter a training program that would allow Jackson to earn a promotion from mathematician to engineer. Because the classes were held at then-segregated Hampton High School, Jackson needed special permission to join her white peers in the classroom.

Jackson completed the courses, earned the promotion, and in 1958 became NASA’s first Black female engineer. For nearly two decades during her engineering career, she authored or co-authored research numerous reports, most focused on the behavior of the boundary layer of air around airplanes.

In 1979, she joined Langley’s Federal Women’s Program, where she worked hard to address the hiring and promotion of the next generation of female mathematicians, engineers and scientists. Mary retired from Langley in 1985.

For additional information on Mary W. Jackson, the “Hidden Figures,” and today’s Modern Figures, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/modernfigures

Original article source: https://goodblacknews.org/2020/06/24/nasas-headquarters-to-be-renamed-in-honor-of-its-1st-black-woman-engineer-hidden-figure-mary-w-jackson/ | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council

0 0 vote
Article Rating

Related Articles

Darnella Frazier, the Young Woman Who Documented George Floyd’s Murder, to be Honored with 2020 PEN America Benenson Courage Award

[Daniella Frazier; photo courtesy pen.org] The literary and free expression organization PEN America announced today that Darnella Frazier, the quick-thinking and courageous young woman who filmed the murder of George Read more

SolidaARiTy Movement Hosts Online Art Auction to Benefit Social Justice and Health Non-Profits Through 10/24

[Artists Isis Dua and Candyce Fabre: Photos via funddeed.com/solidarity] The SolidARiTy movement includes over 20 artists who are creating thought-provoking pieces as a fundraiser and art auction that will benefit Claris Read more

Virginia Lawmakers Vote Unanimously to make Juneteenth a State Holiday

According to the Associated Press, Juneteenth has officially become a state holiday in Virginia after lawmakers unanimously approved legislation during the Virginia General Assembly special session. Juneteenth marks the day Read more

“Me Too” Founder Tarana Burke Making Activism More Accessible Via “Me Too Act Too” Site

[Me Too Founder Tarana Burke photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images] The Me Too Movement against sexual violence and sexual harassment gained widespread attention three years ago. In 2020, the movements against Read more

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Your Community Radio Station is possible thanks to this supporter!  Become an underwriter.

Pin It on Pinterest