- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has honoured Mary W Jackson by renaming its headquarters after her
- She was the inspiration for the book and the film that followed, Hidden Figures
- As an African American woman, her contribution to the success of NASA was not acknowledged until years after she retired
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA has changed the name of its headquarters in Washington D.C to honour the agency's first African American engineer, Mary W Jackson, who inspired the book and film, Hidden Figures.
Jackson began working at the agency while workers were still segregated, she was stationed in the West Area Computing Unit of the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, according to NASA.
“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 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 recognise the contributions of women, African Americans, and people of all backgrounds who have made NASA’s successful history of exploration possible.”
Briefly.co.za also learned that a street outside the NASA headquarters was also renamed Hidden Figures Way.
“We are honoured 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 started working in the computing pool, sort of like a typing pool but with mathematicians solving complex problems that our computers do today.
Her ability was recognised and she was allowed to join a training programme. She was so brilliant that she was given special permission to join the white class group as students were still segregated.
She was promoted from mathematician to engineer and continued to work at NASA until 1985. She helped usher in an entire generation of female mathematicians, engineers and scientists at NASA.
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