The NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., will be named after the agency’s first Black female engineer.
The life of Mary Winston Jackson was chronicled in the book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race,” which was adapted into the 2016 film “Hidden Figures.”
Jackson was a member of the “human computers” while working as a research mathematician at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Jackson “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,” Bridenstine said. “Hidden no more, we will continue to recognize the contributions of women, African Americans, and people of all backgrounds who have helped construct NASA’s successful history to explore.”
In 1951, Jackson began working for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the predecessor of NASA, working in a segregated unit for Dorothy Vaughan, who was also depicted in Hidden Figures. In 1958, Jackson became NASA’s first Black female engineer.
In 1979, Jackson began working as Langley’s Federal Women’s Program Manager, working on programs that fostered “the hiring and promotion of women in NASA’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers.”
President Donald Trump posthumously awarded Jackson the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal in 2019.
In February, Jackson died at age 101.