It’s been three years since “Hidden Figures” hit theaters celebrating the lives and legacies of three African American women who put a man into space. Now, NASA is honoring those same women with a street in front of its national headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson will live on through the newly named, “Hidden Figures Way,” which will replace E Street Southwest.
Today, the street in front of @NASA HQ in D.C. is being renamed "Hidden Figures Way" in honor of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan & Mary Jackson. Tune in to NASA TV at 1pm EDT for a special @airandspace "STEM in 30" commemorating these amazing women! https://t.co/FIo6IjfZLx pic.twitter.com/4enPbWQvjJ
— NASA STEM (@NASASTEM) June 12, 2019
Each of the women served integral roles in helping NASA. Johnson worked for NASA for over 30 years. She’s most well known for her role in the orbital mission that sent John Glenn to space. Johnson, a brilliant mathematician, checked the work of computers by doing her own separate equations by hand. Vaughan led a team of computer programmers and was NASA’s first Black manager and one of few women supervisors at the time. She also was a staunch advocate in making sure women programmers received promotions and pay raises. Jackson worked at NASA as an aeronautical engineer for 34 years and got her start in 1951 working under Vaughan. She became NASA’s first Black woman engineer in 1958.
The women’s family members, as well as the author of the book “Hidden Figures,” Margot Lee Shetterly, attended the event. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, also joined in the renaming ceremony.
The work of these three geniuses flew under the radar for years and its awesome to see them finally getting the recognition they deserve. Their story of perseverance and their role in American space exploration changed the course of history forever, and now people in D.C. will be reminded of that every day.