Today In Black History: Celebrating the life of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician
The Washington Post reports that Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician who was depicted in “Hidden Figures,” died Monday (Feb. 24). She was 101.
Johnson began working at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1953, and she was classified as “subprofessional,” and likened to the ranking of a janitor.
But her job didn’t involve cleaning; Johnson used a slide rule or mechanical calculator in complex calculations to review the work of her superiors — white male engineers. Her title was “computer,” the technology that would eventually make the services of many of her colleagues no longer needed.
Taraji P. Henson portrayed Johnson in the 2016 Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures about trailblazing black women whose work at NASA was pivotal during the Space Race. (Source: The Detroit Praise Network)