Photo courtesy of NASA
The Washington, D.C. city council has voted to rename a street outside of NASA’s headquarters “Hidden Figures Way.” The group unanimously decided that the street should be renamed in honor of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson who each courageously served NASA as “human computers” in the segregated south during the 1960s and were behind one of NASA’s first successful space missions.
In 2010, Margot Lee Shetterly told the story of Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson, among countless other Black women mathematicians that worked alongside them, in her book entitled “Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race.” Six years later, in 2016, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, and Octavia Spencer brought the three trailblazers to life on the big screen in the Oscar nominated film “Hidden Figures.”
Photo credit: Christopher Polk
D.C. city council chairman, Phil Mendelson, first introduced the bill proposing the street name change. “Despite facing segregation and adversity, these women computers played an integral role in the development of aeronautical and aerospace research during turning points in our nation’s history, including World War II and the development of the Space Task Force,” he shared.
The bill will undergo a final vote this month. Given the unanimous preliminary vote, once it also passes final city council vote, Mayor Murial Bowser will then be able to sign the change into law.