NASA Names Headquarters After Its First Black Female Engineer, “Hidden Figure” Mary W. Jackson

NASA announced Wednesday that it is naming its headquarters in Washington, D.C. after mathematician and aerospace engineer Mary W. Jackson. Jackson became the agency’s first American American female engineer in 1958, opening 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. “Today, we proudly announce the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building.”

Jackson’s career — along with those of other pioneering black NASA scientists — 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.

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