NASA, the government's space agency has renamed a street in front of their headquarters, Hidden Figures Way. The agency has decided to showcase the legacy of Black women who played an integral part in advancing America's space race against the rest of the world, primarily Russia. It is time that Black women received the praise they deserve for their contributions. Their worked helped with the landing of Apollo 11 and many other early NASA accomplishments.
This renaming of the street came about due to a bill being introduced last year by Senators Bill Nelson, Ted Cruz, Ed Markey, and John Thune because they thought the agency should honor the "human computers" who made the agency what it is today. Cruz said, "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 about the unlimited human potential of all of us."
Hidden Figures is the title given to the book and the movie praise the work done by Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. At the unveiling of the sign in Washington, DC were the families of the women and also the author of the book, Margot Lee Shetterly.
Some of their contributions to the first landing include, Katherine Johnson calculating the trajectory Glen John needed to orbit the Earth, Mary Jackson was the only Black female aeronautical engineer during that time, a field dominated heavily by white men. Dorothy Vaughan managed a segregated computing group, being the agency's only Black manager.
Shetterly said, "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. But, let it also remind us of the Hidden Figures way, which is to open our eyes to [contributions] of the people around us so that their names, too, are the ones that we remember at the end of the story."
The chief administrator at NASA, Jim 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."