NEWPORT NEWS, VA. (AP) Four Black women who gained national attention in a recent book and movie for groundbreaking NASA work in Virginia during space-race years will receive special awards from Congress.
The Daily Press of Newport News reports President Donald Trump signed into law on Friday the “Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act,” which will recognize Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, as well as the late Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.
The lives and careers of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Christine Darden were featured in the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly. That book was adapted into the 2016 film Hidden Figures.Johnson is known for calculating trajectories for famous flights by astronauts Alan Shepard and John Glenn. Vaughan became a computer programming expert, while Jackson and Darden were pioneering engineers working at the Langley Research Center.
Considered the highest civilian recognition in the United States, the Congressional Gold Medal is awarded to those who have performed an achievement that has had an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized in the recipient’s field for years to come.
The Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act received strong support from The Thurgood Marshall Fund, the Girls Scouts of America, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Association for Women in Science, the Sloan Foundation, the American Physical Society, the Society of Women Engineers, the National Association of Mathematicians, the Association for Women in Mathematics and others.