|Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-02-03 15:02Z by Steven|
The Washington Post
Fame has finally found Katherine Johnson — and it only took a half-century, six manned moon landings, a best-selling book and an Oscar-nominated movie.
For more than 30 years, Johnson worked as a NASA mathematician at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., where she played an unseen but pivotal role in the country’s space missions. That she was an African American woman in an almost all-male and white workforce made her career even more remarkable.
Now, three decades after retiring from the agency, Johnson is portrayed by actress Taraji P. Henson in “Hidden Figures,” a film based on a book of the same name. The movie tells how a group of black women — world-class mathematicians all — helped provide NASA with data crucial to the success of the agency’s early spaceflights. “Hidden Figures” was nominated Tuesday for an Academy Award for best picture.
Suddenly Johnson, who will turn 99 in August, finds herself inundated with interview requests, award banquet invitations and people who just want to stop by and shake her hand.
“I’m glad that I’m young enough still to be living and that they are, so they can look and see, ‘That’s who that is,’ ” she said. “And they are as excited as I am.”
For many people, especially African Americans, her tale of overcoming racism and sexism is inspirational…
Read the entire article here.