NASA honours female African-American Mathematicians by renaming street

NASA has honoured three African-American female mathematicians by renaming the street outside its headquarters

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, second from left, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, third from left, and Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the book "Hidden Figures," right, unveil the "Hidden Figures Way" street sign. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

NASA has paid a fantastic tribute to three African-American female mathematicians – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson – by renaming the street outside its headquarters. The street will now be called Hidden Figures Way,’ which is the name of a book by Margot Lee Shetterly that recognizes the massive contributions of these three brilliant mathematicians. The book was also made into a blockbuster Oscar-nominated movie of the same name in 2016.

These three mathematicians made considerable contributions to space flight in the decades of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. This was the time when the United States sent men into the orbit and the moon. Unfortunately, the contributions of these women were not known widely. Also, they had to face much racial discrimination that was rampant in those times. However, these women defied racial segregation and succeeded despite all odds.

Shetterly, the author of the book ‘Hidden Figures,’ attended the unveiling of the street sign. She was accompanied by members of the families of the three mathematicians.

In 1958, Mary Jackson became the first female African American scientist that NASA hired. Further, Katherine Johnson calculated the trajectory for Alan Shepard, who was the first American in space.

Interestingly, the renaming of the street comes close to the celebrations on 20th July that mark the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk by NASA astronauts.

Isn’t this a beautiful way of paying tribute to these women who were pathbreaking in terms of their achievements? What are your views on this? Do let us know in the comments below.

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