I bet you all thought I forgot about out Black Girl History Month. I have not!
For day 8, 9, 10 & 11…I would like to acknowledge the true Hidden Figures of NASA, the “Human Computers”; Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, Mary Jackson, and Annie Easley.
In the 1960s, as NASA began the race into outer space, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Mary Jackson were recruited and worked behind the scenes. Their contributions were critical to the first US space launch.
Katherine Johnson’s, a mathematician, calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical.
Christine Darden worked as a data analyst in the computing pool but later automated the process when she began writing computer programs.
Mary Jackson worked as a mathematician in the computing pool until she began working for engineer Kazimierz Czarnecki who offered Mary hands-on experience conducting experiments in the facility, and suggested that she enter a training program that would allow her to earn a promotion from mathematician to engineer. She completed the courses, earned the promotion, and in 1958 became NASA’s first black female engineer.
In 2016, the movie Hidden Figures was released which detailed the lives and success of these women as they made history with NASA.
Annie Easley was also a “human computer” during the 1960s. She worked in the computing pool unil “human computers” were replaced by machines. She returned to school in the 70s to earn her degree in mathematics. Her work was instrumental in the launch of the Centaur rockets.