NASA Names D.C. Headquarters After Mary W. Jackson, the Agency's First African American Woman Engineer

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This. Is. Awesome. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine just announced that the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., will be named after Mary W. Jackson, the first African American woman engineer at the agency.

Bridenstine said in a statement, “Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. 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.” The building sits on ‘Hidden Figures Way,’ a reminder that Jackson was one of the many talented professionals in history who contributed to NASA's success. 

Jackson, a mathematician and aerospace engineer, started her NASA career in the segregated West Area Computing Unit of the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and went on to lead programs influencing the hiring and promotion of women in NASA's science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. In 2019, she was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

You might be familiar with her name from Margot Lee Shetterly's 2016 book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, or the book's film adaptation, in which Jackson was played by Janelle Monáe.

So incredibly well-deserved. 

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