Mary W. Jackson (second from left) seen in 1984 Student Symposium at Langley Research Center. Mary W. Jackson, NASA's first black female engine
Mary W. Jackson (second from left) seen in 1984 Student Symposium at Langley Research Center.
Mary W. Jackson, NASA’s first black female engineer, was born April 9, 1921. Jackson earned degrees in mathematics and physical sciences in 1942. She landed a job at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory’s segregated West Area Computing section in 1951, reporting to the group’s supervisor Dorothy Vaughan and eventually working alongside Katherine Johnson. The trio were the subject of the 2016 feature film, Hidden Figures, which detailed their legendary careers and the contributions they made to America’s space program despite racism and segregation.
Jackson worked tirelessly throughout her career to promote the rights of women and people of color. Among her many accolades were the receipt of a the highest civilian award in the country, the Congressional Gold Medal and the renaming of the NASA Headquarters building in her honor.
In this photograph taken Nov. 8,1984, Jackson (second from left) meets with colleagues at Langley during the Student Symposium Meeting. From left to right are Vivian Merritt, Office of Equal Opportunity Programs; Jackson, who at the time was manger of the Federal Woman’s Program; guest speaker James Jennings; and Katherine Johnson, then working in the Flight Dynamics and Control Division.
Image Credit: NASA
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2021
Editor: Yvette Smith
Source: NASA Image of the Day