The NASA headquarters building in Washington, D.C. will be named after Mary W. Jackson, the agency’s first African-American female engineer whose pioneering story was portrayed in the 2016 film Hidden Figures.
“Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced on Wednesday (June 24). “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,” he continued. “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.”
Throughout her career, Jackson pushed for initiatives that opened NASA doors for the next generation of women engineers. She was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2019. The stories of Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan’s trailblazing careers caught nationwide recognition when they were portrayed in the book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race” and the Hidden Figures film.
“We are honored that NASA continues to celebrate the legacy of our mother and grandmother Mary W. Jackson,” Jackson’s daughter Carolyn Lewis said of the news in a statement. “She was 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.”
“NASA facilities across the country are named after people who dedicated their lives to push the frontiers of the aerospace industry. The nation is beginning to awaken to the greater need to honor the full diversity of people who helped pioneer our great nation,” Bridenstine added.
“Over the years NASA has worked to honor the work of these Hidden Figures in various ways, including naming facilities, renaming streets and celebrating their legacy. We know there are many other people of color and diverse backgrounds who have contributed to our success, which is why we’re continuing the conversations started about a year ago with the agency’s Unity Campaign. NASA is dedicated to advancing diversity, and we will continue to take steps to do so.”
In tonight’s (June 25) episode of “REVOLT BLACK NEWS,” host Eboni K. Williams takes a special look at the heart and soul of our community: Black women. From paying respect to the women we’ve lost to spotlighting our leaders.