Showing posts with label Hidden Figures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hidden Figures. Show all posts

Monday, February 24, 2020

"Hidden Figure' Katherine Johnson dead at 101

Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who calculated rocket trajectories and earth orbits for NASA’s early space missions and was later portrayed in the 2016 hit film “Hidden Figures,” about pioneering black female aerospace workers, has died. She was 101.

Johnson died Monday of natural causes at a retirement community in Newport News, Virginia, family attorney Donyale Y. H. Reavis told The Associated Press.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine released the folowing statement:

“NASA is deeply saddened by the loss of a leader from our pioneering days, and we send our deepest condolences to the family of Katherine Johnson. Ms. Johnson helped our nation enlarge the frontiers of space even as she made huge strides that also opened doors for women and people of color in the universal human quest to explore space. Her dedication and skill as a mathematician helped put humans on the moon and before that made it possible for our astronauts to take the first steps in space that we now follow on a journey to Mars. Her Presidential Medal of Freedom was a well-deserved recognition.

“At NASA we will never forget her courage and leadership and the milestones we could not have reached without her. We will continue building on her legacy and work tirelessly to increase opportunities for everyone who has something to contribute toward the ongoing work of raising the bar of human potential.”

Sunday, November 10, 2019

NASA 'Hidden Figures' to be awarded Congressional gold medals

Four African American women known as the "Hidden Figures" who worked at NASA during the Space Race are being awarded Congressional Gold Medals, the highest civilian award in the US.

Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, as well as mathematician Katherine Johnson and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan were awarded Congressional Gold Medals.

Vaughan and Jackson, who passed away, were both awarded posthumously.

A fifth gold medal was granted in honor of all women who contributed to NASA during the Space Race.

Democratic Senator Kamala Harris from California, one of the people who introduced the bipartisan bill, called the women "pioneers" and an inspiration to black women across the US.

"The groundbreaking accomplishments of these four women, and all of the women who contributed to the success of NASA, helped us win the space race but remained in the dark far too long," said Harris in a press release.

The four trailblazers paved the way for women of color to make history in fields including science, math, and technology.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Street outside NASA's DC office renamed for 'Hidden Figures'

Visitors to NASA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. will forevermore be reminded of the African-American women who were essential to the success of early spaceflight.

On Aug. 23, 2018, U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, Ed Markey, John Thune, and Bill Nelson introduced a bipartisan bill to designate the street in front of NASA Headquarters as Hidden Figures Way. On Wednesday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was joined by Sen. Cruz, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and author Margot Lee Shetterly to make that designation official.

The renaming honors Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who were featured in Shetterly’s book – and the subsequent movie – Hidden Figures, as well as all women who honorably serve their country, advancing equality, and contributing to the United States space program.

“I just want to say these were the three hidden figures in a very prominent book that became a magnificent movie that started a movement that brought all of us here today,” Bridenstine said. “Here we are, 50 years after the landing of the Apollo 11 Moon lander, celebrating those figures who were, at the time, not celebrated.”

Members of the Johnson, Jackson and Vaughan families, as well as Christine Darden, a mathematician who worked alongside these esteemed women at NASA, were surrounded by a large crowd gathered at the corner of 3rd and E Street SW to share in the momentous event.

“A street sign is a piece of metal, that’s under the wind, sun, rain, snow. But a street sign’s a lot more than that,” Cruz said. “Because for years, and then decades, and then centuries, when little girls and little boys come to see NASA, they’re going to look up and see that sign, and they’re going to say ‘Hidden Figures? What’s that? What does that mean?’ And that, in turn, is going to prompt a story – a story about the unlimited human potential of all of us.”

Mendelson, who introduced the renaming bill for the city council in September 2018, also noted the integral role NASA’s human computers of the Apollo era played in developing America’s space program, and the important lessons we take from history, particularly lessons on race in this country.

“It’s not just a story of individuals but it’s also a story of, and acknowledges, the racism in this country and how we still struggle to deal with that and to overcome it,” he said.

The story that sparked the movement Bridenstine spoke of was shared with the world by an author who has her own close ties to NASA. Shetterly’s father, whose birthday also was Wednesday, spent his entire career at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, as an atmospheric research scientist.

“Naming this street Hidden Figures Way serves to remind us, and everyone who comes here, of the standard that was set by these women, with their commitment to science and their embodiment of the values of equality, justice and humanity,” Shetterly said. “But, let it also remind us of the Hidden Figures way, which is to open our eyes to contribution of the people around us so that their names, too, are the ones that we remember at the end of the story.”

Monday, August 06, 2018

Black Female NASA Pioneers Nominated For Congressional Medals

A group of U.S. senators are recognizing the African American women who contributed to the space race in the 1960s.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chris Croons of Delaware, Kamala Harris of California and 44 of their colleagues introduced a bipartisan bill to award Congressional Gold medals to Katherine Johnson and Dr. Christine Darden and posthumously award Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson whose lives and careers were featured in the book and movie "Hidden Figures".

The Congressional Gold Medal is considered the highest civilian award in the United States and awarded to people who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture; likely to be recognized in that person's field for years to come.

Senator Harris said these women's accomplishments were a critical role in U.S. history:

“These women were barrier breakers, and their immeasurable contributions to NASA and our nation have cemented their place in history,” said Senator Harris. “For too long, their extraordinary accomplishments remained in the shadows, with the world unaware of the critical role they placed in the Space Race. I’m proud to help recognize their achievements as they continue to serve as a beacon for black women both young and old, across the country.”

Johnson calculated trajectories for multiple NASA space missions including the first human spaceflight by an American, Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 mission. She also calculated trajectories for John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission to orbit the earth. During her time at NASA, she became the first woman recognized as an author of a report from the Flight Research Division.

Vaughan led the West Area Computing unit for nine years, as the first African American supervisor at National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which later became NASA. She later became an expert programmer in FORTRAN as a part of NASA’s Analysis and Computation Division.

Jackson, who petitioned the City of Hampton to allow her to take graduate-level courses in math and physics at night at the all-white Hampton High School in order to become an engineer at NASA. She was the first female African-American engineer at the agency. Later in her career, she worked to improve the prospects of NASA’s female mathematicians, engineers, and scientists as Langley’s Federal Women’s Program Manager.

Dr. Darden became an engineer at NASA 16 years after Jackson. She worked to revolutionize aeronautic design, wrote over 50 articles on aeronautics design and became the first African-American person of any gender to be promoted into the Senior Executive Service at Langley.

The bill would commend these women for their contributions to NASA and their broader impact on society, paving the way for women-- especially of color in STEM fields.

This bill is endorsed by the Girl Scouts of the USA, Girl Scouts of Alaska, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Physical Society, Association for Women in Science, National Association for Equal Opportunity, Society of Women Engineers, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund, National Center for Women , and Information Technology, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Hampton Roads Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Association for Women in Math, American Mathematical Society, National Association of Mathematicians, Mathematical Association of America, National Congress of Black Women, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, American Chemical Society, and American Geophysical Union.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hampton votes to name neighborhood center after NASA trailblazer, Mary Jackson

Dozens packed the Hampton City Council chambers Wednesday for the renaming of a $3.5 million Olde Hampton neighborhood center in honor of Mary Jackson, a city native, and among the first African-American women to serve as a human computer at what is now NASA Langley.

Many of those in attendance included members of Jackson’s sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha to pay tribute to the pioneering engineer, whose story was featured in the book by Hampton native Margot Lee Shetterly and movie “Hidden Figures.”

Last July, members of Local 8888 of the United Steelworkers lobbied the City Council to have a public place named for Jackson. Jackson, who died in 2005, grew up in Olde Hampton and was a science education advocate.

The city is working with local neighborhood citizen groups to finalize the types of programs that will be featured at the center, City Manager Mary Bunting said. The city is also seeking to hire a firm for the building design.

Vice Mayor Linda Curtis said there is not a set location for the new Mary Jackson Neighborhood Center.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

'Hidden Figure' Katherine Johnson to Deliver Hampton University Commencement Address

Hampton University is pleased to announce that Katherine G. Johnson, one of the leading inspirations behind the Hollywood feature film Hidden Figures, will serve as the University’s 147th Commencement speaker on May 14, 2017. Commencement will be held at Armstrong Stadium at 10 a.m.

Considered to be one of NASA's human 'computers,' Johnson performed the complex calculations that enabled humans to successfully achieve space flight. In 1961, Johnson was tasked with plotting the path for Alan Shepard's journey to space, the first in American history. Johnson was later responsible for verifying calculations of the "machines" and giving the "go-ahead" to propel John Glenn into successful orbit in 1962.

Johnson has been honored with an array of awards for her groundbreaking work. Among them are the 1967 NASA Lunar Orbiter Spacecraft and Operations team award, and the National Technical Association’s designation as its 1997 Mathematician of the Year. On Nov. 24, 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama.

“With her razor-sharp mathematical mind, Katherine G. Johnson helped broaden the scope of space travel, charting new frontiers for humanity’s exploration of space, and creating new possibilities for all humankind," said Obama. "From sending the first American to space to the first moon landing, she played a critical role in many of NASA’s most important milestones. Katherine Johnson refused to be limited by society’s expectations of her gender and race while expanding the boundaries of humanity’s reach.”

Johnson earned a B.S. degree in mathematics and French from West Virginia State College. In 1999, that university named Johnson "Outstanding Alumnus of the Year."

Johnson had three daughters with her late husband James Goble. All of the daughters are graduates of Hampton University: Joylette Goble Hylick, '62, Constance Goble Garcia (deceased), ’73, and Katherine Goble Moore, ’70. Johnson is married to Lt. Col. USA(ret) James A. Johnson, ‘52. Johnson has six grandchildren (three of whom graduated from HU) and 11 great-grandchildren.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Full list 2017 NAACP Image Award Winners

The NAACP held it's 48th Annual NAACP Image Awards on Saturday Night. Here is a full list of the winners. Some expected, some not so expected.

Entertainer of the Year: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Outstanding Motion PictureHidden Figures
Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture: Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures
Outstanding Drama SeriesQueen Sugar
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series: Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series: Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Outstanding Comedy SeriesBlack-ish
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series: Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series: Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture: Denzel Washington, Fences
Outstanding New Artist: Chance the Rapper
Outstanding Male Artist: Maxwell 
Outstanding Female Artist: Beyoncé
Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration: "Freedom," Beyoncé feat. Kendrick Lamar 
Outstanding Jazz AlbumLatin American Songbook, Edward Simon
Outstanding Gospel Album (Traditional or Contemporary): One Way, Tamela Mann 
Outstanding Music Video: "Formation,"  Beyoncé 
Outstanding Song (Traditional): "I See A Victory," Kim Burrell and Pharrell Williams
Outstanding AlbumLemonade, Beyoncé 
Outstanding Song (Contemporary): "Freedom," Beyoncé feat. Kendrick Lamar

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Laurence Fishburne, Black-ish
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Tichina Arnold, Survivor's Remorse 
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Jussie Smollett, Empire 
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Naturi Naughton, Power 
Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series, or Dramatic SpecialThe People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited-Series, or Dramatic Special: Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series, or Dramatic Special: Regina King, American Crime
Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special)BET Love and Happiness White House Special 
Outstanding Talk SeriesSteve Harvey
Outstanding Reality Program/Reality Competition SeriesIyanla: Fix My Life
Outstanding Variety (Series or Special)2016 Black Girls Rock
Outstanding Children's ProgramAn American Girl Story – Melody 1963: Love Has to Win 
Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited-Series): Marsai Martin, Black-ish
Outstanding Host in a News, Talk, Reality, or Variety Program (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble: Roland S. Martin – NewsOne Now with Roland S. Martin 
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight 
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Viola Davis, Fences 
Outstanding Independent Motion PictureMoonlight 
Outstanding Documentary (Film)13TH
Outstanding Documentary (Television)Roots: A New Vision 
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: Kenya Barris, Black-ish
Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series: Ava DuVernay, Queen Sugar 
Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Television): Charles Murray, Roots–Night 3 
Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Film): Barry Jenkins, Moonlight 
Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series: Donald Glover, Atlanta–Value 
Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series: John Singleton, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story–The Race Card 
Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Television): Rick Famuyiwa, Confirmation 
Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Film): Barry Jenkins, Moonlight 
Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance (Television or Film): Idris Elba, The Jungle Book 
Outstanding Literary Work (Fiction)The Book of Harlan, Bernice L. McFadden
Outstanding Literary Work (Nonfiction)Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly 
Outstanding Literary Work, (Debut Author)Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Trevor Noah
Outstanding Literary Work (Biography/Autobiography)Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Trevor Noah 
Outstanding Literary Work (Instructional)The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage, Daymond John, Daniel Paisner 
Outstanding Literary Work (Poetry)Collected Poems: 1974-2004, Rita Dove 
Outstanding Literary Work (Children)Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas, Gwendolyn Hooks, Colin Bootman 
Outstanding Literary Work (Youth/Teens)As Brave As You, Jason Reynolds
The Jackie Robinson Sports Award: LeBron James
The Chairman's Award: Charles J. Ogletree Jr. 


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hidden Figures crosses into blockbuster status!

Who would have thought that a historical drama featuring three black women as leads would knock Star Wars: Rogue One from the top spot, be the #1 movie for two weeks, get a best movie Academy Award nomination, and make more than $100 million dollars at the box office? Well Hidden Figures has done just that by passing the $100 million mark this weekend.

Hidden Figures grossed $13 plus million this weekend to push it's total to over $103 million in it's six weeks of release.

Hidden Figures stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe. Octavia Spencer has been nominated for a best supporting actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Dorothy Vaughan.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

African American Academy Award Nominees

While most of the focus was on La La Lands 14 Academy Awards nominations this was also a great year for African American actors and directors. This a record year that features a record number 6 black actors being nominated. There are the usual nominees like Denzel Washington and Octavia "I'm in every movie coming out for the next two years" Spencer, but there were a few surprises thrown in. Here is a complete list of the African Americans actors and directors nominated for Academy Awards.

Best Picture:


Hidden Figures


Lead Actor:

Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Lead Actress

Ruth Negga, “Loving”

Supporting actor:

Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”

Supporting actress:

Viola Davis, “Fences”

Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”

Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”

Best Director:

“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins

Adapted screenplay:

“Fences,” August Wilson

“Hidden Figures,” Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi

“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Best documentary feature:

“13th,” Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish

“I Am Not Your Negro,” Raoul Peck, Remi Grellety and Hebert Peck

Monday, January 09, 2017

The Force is with Hidden Figures as it beats Rouge One for #1 movie in America

By George L. Cook III African American Reports

In a bit of a surprise three black female mathematicians beat out Darth Vader to become the #1 movie in America this weekend.

Hidden Figures didn't need light sabers or a force choke to dethrone the reigning box office champion It just needed a good story that resonated with viewers and a great cast to take the #1 spot. Hidden Figures earned 22.8 million over the weekend compared to Star Wars: Rogue One's 22.1 million. [SOURCE: VARIETY.COM]

Not only was Hidden Figures coming in #1 a bit of a surprise, the movie also beat projections that had it grossing 16-18 millions dollars.

HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

Hidden Figures was co-produced by Pharrell Williams and stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge, Glen Powell, Kimberly Quinn and Kevin Costner.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Jeanette Epps: First African-American On The International Space Station

Okay, am I the only one that finds it extremely convenient that NASA would release this press release right before the general release of the movie Hidden Figures? You don't think that there may be some collaboration between NASA and 20th Century Fox? If so smart move.  But on a more serious note congratualtions to Jeanette Epps. George L. Cook III African American Reports.
NASA is assigning veteran astronaut Andrew Feustel and first-flight astronaut Jeanette Epps to missions aboard the International Space Station in 2018.
Feustel will launch in March 2018 for his first long-duration mission, serving as a flight engineer on Expedition 55, and later as commander of Expedition 56. Epps will become the first African American space station crew member when she launches on her first spaceflight in May 2018. She’ll join Feustel as a flight engineer on Expedition 56, and remain on board for Expedition 57.
“Each space station crew brings something different to the table, and Drew and Jeanette both have a lot to offer,” said Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “The space station will benefit from having them on board.”
A native of Lake Orion, Michigan, Feustel was selected as part of the 2000 astronaut class and, in 2009, flew on the space shuttle Atlantis for the final servicing mission of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. He made his first trip to the space station in 2011 as a member of the STS-134 crew on space shuttle Endeavour’s final mission.
Feustel has a bachelor’s degree in solid Earth sciences and a master’s degree in geophysics from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. In 1995, he completed his doctorate in geological sciences, with a specialization in seismology, from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Epps earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1992 at LeMoyne College in her hometown of Syracuse, New York. She went on to complete a master’s of science in 1994 and a doctorate in 2000 in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland.
While earning her doctorate, Epps was a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Project fellow, authoring several journal and conference articles on her research. After completing graduate school, she went on to work in a research laboratory for more than two years, co-authoring several patents, before being recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency. She spent seven years as a CIA technical intelligence officer before being selected as a member of the 2009 astronaut class.  
Feustel and Epps will join a long and distinguished line of astronauts who have crewed the International Space Station since November 2000. With the help of the more than 200 astronauts who have visited, the space station enables us to demonstrate new technologies and make research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. Its convergence of science, technology and human innovation provide a springboard to NASA's next giant leap in exploration, including the Journey to Mars.
Follow Jeanette Epps on Twitter at:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Taraji P. Henson & Octavia Spencer film 'Hidden Figures' to get earlier release

Looks like Twentieth Century Fox will be releasing the movie 'Hidden Figures' one week earlier than initially announced.

The site Hollywood Reporter reports that:

The movie focuses on the untold story of three African-American women (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae) who worked behind the scenes on key space programs.

Fox confirmed Friday that it would in fact give its Taraji P. Henson- and Octavia Spencer-starring NASA drama Hidden Figures a limited, Oscar-qualifying release on Christmas Day.

The movie, which was previously set to hit theaters on Jan. 13 of next year will instead go wide on Jan. 6.

Hidden Figures, directed by Theodore Melfi, focuses on the untold story of three brilliant African-American women working at NASA who served as the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit in 1962. The biographical drama shows how the trio, rounded out by Janelle Monae, battled stereotypes and defied expectations as they made history.