NASA engineer and mathematician Mary W. Jackson is finally getting her just due.
On Wednesday (Jun 24) NASA announced plans to rename their headquarters located in Washington DC after the first Black female aerospace engineer Mary W. Jackson. Jackson, who was the agency’s first American American female engineer in 1958, opened up opportunities for countless women of color in STEM who followed in her footsteps.
“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,” Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement to CBS News. “Today, we proudly announce the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building.”
NASA took to social media with the special announcement writing, “Our headquarters building in Washington, D.C., will be named after Mary W. Jackson, the first African-American female engineer at NASA. She started in research and later moved into the personnel field, working to ensure equal opportunity in hiring and promotion.”
Last year, Nasa renamed the street outside its headquarters as Hidden Figures Way.
“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,” Mr. Bridenstine continued.”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.”
Jackson’s career, along with those of other pioneering black NASA scientists including Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan, became widely recognized after the publication of Margot Lee Shetterly’s 2016 book, “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.” In the subsequent film Hidden Figures, Jackson was played by award-winning musician and actress Janelle Monáe.