Hidden Figure No More

Mary W. Jackson was once a “hidden figure” at NASA. On Wednesday, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announced NASA’s Washington D.C. headquarters is now named after her.

Mary Jackson at Work NASA Langley [photo credit: NASA]

Most of us remember the 2016 Film “Hidden Figures” (adapted from Margo Lee Shetterley’s book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race) which introduced us to Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Each were part of NASA’s team of women working out of the segregated West Area Computing Unit of NASA’s Langley Research Center. Capable of performing detailed mathematical calculations, these women were referred to as human “computers”. They calculated, by hand, complex equations critical to the space program, allowing our nation’s astronauts to not only travel to space, but also safely return.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, second from left, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, third from left, and Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the book “Hidden Figures,” right, unveil the “Hidden Figures Way” street sign at a dedication ceremony, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. The 300 block of E Street SW in front of the NASA Headquarters building was designated as “Hidden Figures Way” to honor Katherine Johnson, Dorthy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and all women who have dedicated their lives to honorably serving their country, advancing equality, and contributing to the space program of the United States. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

In Wednesday’s press release, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine stated: “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. 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.”

The Milieux Project celebrates Mary and those like her: drawing from the strength within to achieve success, shatter obstacles, challenge societal norms, and lead the way for the rest of us as we navigate the path to our own dreams.

Learn more about Mary Jackson and others www.nasa.gov/modernfigures

Published by aviatrix97

I am a life-long aviator with a military career spanning special operations and combat search and rescue. Together with @milieux01, I am working to advance opportunities for others to join us in the skies.

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