NASA Renames Headquarters After Pioneer Mary W. Jackson, Subject of ‘Hidden Figures’

Janelle Monae played NASA’s first Black female engineer in the 2016 film

NASA will rename its D.C. headquarters after Mary W. Jackson — the space program’s first Black female engineer. Jackson was portrayed in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures” by Janelle Monae.

“Our headquarters building in Washington, D.C., will be named after Mary W. Jackson, the first African-American female engineer at NASA,” the administration tweeted on Wednesday. “She started in@NASAaero research and later moved into the personnel field, working to ensure equal opportunity in hiring and promotion.”

Accompanying the video was a video explaining Jackson’s rise from a mathematician in the then-segregated West Area Computing Division at the Langley Research Center to becoming an engineer at NASA — the first Black woman to hold that position.

Monae, who portrayed the pioneer in the Oscar-nominated film “Hidden Figures,” retweeted the announcement about the headquarter’s renaming.

Several other notable astronauts and scientists also praised the news.

“Extremely pleased by the news that NASA HQ in Washington DC will be named after Mary W. Jackson, the first African American woman engineer at NASA!” Dr. Mae Jemison — the first woman of color in space — tweeted.

“So excited to hear about this! Mary Jackson broke through barriers and became a hero to so many, including me. NASA was lucky to have her on the team then and will continue to draw from her strength and skills as her legacy inspires and educates into the future,” said astronaut Christina H. Koch.

Added astronaut Jonny Kim, “At @NASA we push boundaries and break barriers. Mary Jackson represents the best of us.”

“Space exploration brings out the best in us,” Bill Nye the Science Guy echoed.

Jackson worked as an engineer for 34 years before willingly taking a demotion so that she could work in the Federal Women’s Program and Affirmative Action Program to promote the hiring of women and minorities at NASA.

She died in 2005 and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2019.

Check out NASA’s announcement and video below:

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