NASA has renamed its HQ in Washington, DC after Mary Jackson, who “overcame barriers to become NASA’s first Black woman engineer.”
“Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “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,” he continued. “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. 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.”
Mary Jackson, a mathematician and aerospace engineer, began her career as a computer at the segregated West Area Computing division in 1951. She took advanced engineering classes and, in 1958, became NASA’s first black female engineer. She went on to champion the hiring and promotion of women at NASA. After 34 years at NASA, Jackson had earned the most senior engineering title available. And in 2019, she was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
“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,” he concluded.
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