NASA Renames DC headquarters after Mary W. Jackson

NASA has named its headquarters in Washington, D.C., after Mary W. Jackson.  NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine described Jackson as, “part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space.”

Johnson, the first African American female engineer at NASA, was part of a trailblazing group of African American women who broke barriers and contributed to the field of aeronautics.

Mary Jackson as portrayed by Janelle Mone in Oscar nominated film “Hidden Figures” Source: 20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Portrayed Janelle Monae in the 2016 Oscar-nominated film “Hidden Figures,” based on the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, Jackson, a native of Hampton County, Virginia, joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NASA’s precursor) in 1951 as a mathematician  in the segregated West Wing Computing Unit.

Later, Jackson fought to gain entry into a segregated training program that would allow her to be promoted from mathematician to engineer, becoming NASA’s first African American female engineer in 1958.

Mary Jackson stands first row on the far right standing with her colleagues in front of NASA’s 4″ x 4″ Supersonic Pressure Tunnel in the 1950’s. Source: NASA Langley/ Getty Images

During her more than two decades at the agency that included a stint at Langley’s Federal Women’s Program in 1979, Jackson, according to NASA, worked hard to address the hiring and promotion of the next generation of female mathematicians, engineers and scientists.

Responding at the dedication ceremony, Carolyn Lewis, Jackson’s daughter, remarked,  “We are honored that NASA continues to celebrate the legacy of our mother and grandmother Mary W. Jackson.” Lewis continued, “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.”

Source: NBC Today