NASA is set to re-christen its national headquarters in Washington DC after Mary Jackson.
The big announcement was made during the week at a press release where Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator spoke about Mary Jackson’s career.
Mary Jackson is the first African American female engineer to work with NASA. Shefamously worked alongside two other history-making Black mathematicians, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan.
Janelle Monae portrayed the character of Mary Jackson in the Oscar nominated movie – Hidden Figures with Taraji P. Henson as Johnson and Octavia Spencer as Vaughn.
The three woman had their stories told in Margot Lee Shetterly’s 2016 nonfiction book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race.
Jim Bridenstein on Jackson said,
“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.”
Jackson graduated with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physical science from Hampton University in 1942.
She started her NASA career in the segregated West Area Computing Unit of the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia and was later recruited by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in April 1951. She worked there until her retirement in 1985.
Mary Jackson died in 2005 at the age of 83.