One small step for black women, one giant leap for mankind.
As major cities across the country attempt to heal the wounds of rioting, looting, and arson, little to none has been said about NASA’s “giant leap” in furthering the recognition of one African American woman who changed the course of history.
In 2019, President Trump awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to four African American women, posthumously among them was Mary W. Jackson, the first Black woman to work as an engineer in the agency. According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., will be named after Mrs. Jackson.
Born and raised in Hampton, Virginia, Jackson graduates from the Hampton Institute in 1942 with degrees in math and physical sciences. She would work as a bookkeeper, marry Levi Jackson and start a family, and work a job as a U.S. Army secretary before her aerospace career would take flight.
Jackson started her NASA career in the segregated West Area Computing Unit of the agency’s Langley Research Center. Jackson, a mathematician and aerospace engineer, went on to lead programs influencing the hiring and promotion of women in NASA’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers.
“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,” said Bridenstine.
The work of Jackson and the West Area Computing Unit caught national attention in the 2016 Margot Lee Shetterly book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.” That same year, the book was made intoa popular movie, “Hidden Figures.”
As reported by USA Today, Jackson’s career skyrocketed when she was hired on by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1951, which was later named NASA in 1958. Starting as a research mathematician, she became known as one of the human computers at Langley. She worked under fellow “Hidden Figure” Dorothy Vaughan in the segregated West Area Computing Unit.
So why isn’t the liberal media covering this noteworthy African American advancement?
In the weeks following the death of George Floyd, the lack of media coverage for African American advancements has been slim – including the naming of the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters Building. The leftist media hypocritically cries for change and progress in the African American community, but fails to recognize the federal government agency’s recognition of Mary W. Jackson and her black colleagues.
After a bipartisan bill by Sens. Ted Cruz, Ed Markey, John Thune, and Bill Nelson passed through Congress, the portion of E Street SW in front of NASA Headquarters was renamed Hidden Figures Way in 2019.
President Trump signed the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act that posthumously awarded the accolade to Jackson, who passed away in 2005, and her “Hidden Figures” colleagues Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Christine Darden.
In the face of the media’s lack of coverage for African American advancement, Bridenstine pointed to the agency’s Unity Campaign, started about a year ago, stating “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.”