Who was Mary W. Jackson, the first Black woman engineer at Nasa? – The Sun

MARY W. Jackson's contribution to Nasa was celebrated in the hit, Oscar-nominated movie "Hidden Figures."

She was the first Black woman engineer at the space agency.

Here's more about the pioneering scientist and mathematician who made history.

Who was Mary W. Jackson?

Jackson, a Virginia native, was recruited from the agency that preceded Nasa, known as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, in 1951.

She then worked in the West Area Computing Unit, which was segregated.

Jackson entered a training program to be promoted from mathematician to engineer but needed special permission because the training classes were segregated.

In 1958, she became the first Black woman engineer at NASA.

Jackson remained in the engineering division for two decades, and then joined Langley’s Federal Women’s Program in 1979.

While there, she paved the way for other women to be recognized and given opportunities in the field of science.

“She worked hard to address the hiring and promotion of the next generation of female mathematicians, engineers and scientists," Nasa said.

When did Nasa name its Washington, D.C. headquarters after her?

On Wednesday, Nasa's administrator Jim Bridenstine officially announced the renaming of its headquarters after Jackson to honor all of the contributions she made while working there.

“She was part of a group of very important women who helped Nasa succeed in getting American astronauts into space and helped break barriers,” Bridenstine said.

What was Hidden Figures about?

Hidden Figures is a book by author Margot Lee Shetterly that recounts the success stories of other women that worked in STEM fields at Nasa but were mostly unknown.

At the time, women had to work separately from men at Nasa and due to Jim Crow Laws, Black women were segregated from white women and the men.

The book touches on the women who helped America make major advances in its aeronautics and astronautics programs as well as emerge victorious over Russia in the Space Race.

Levantine Films purchased the rights to Shetterly's book and the movie Hidden Figures was released on January 13, 2017.

When did Jackson die?

Jackson died at age 83 on February 11, 2005, at Riverside Convalescent Home in Hampton, Virginia.

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