Street outside NASA's D.C. office renamed for 'Hidden Figures'

Federico Mansilla
Junio 16, 2019

News outlets report dignitaries gathered Wednesday, June 12, 2019 in Washington, D.C., to unveil the new street sign.

NASA is paying homage to three African-American female mathematicians whose efforts helped put men on the moon by renaming a block in front of its headquarters.

The work of three mathematicians - Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson - at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration during the 1960s was captured in the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.

Cruz, whose mother graduated from Rice University in the 1950s with a degree in math and helped NASA compute the orbits of Sputnik, was struck by the film's themes.

NASA is highlighting the legacy of African American women who played a major role in the space race but are only recently getting widespread recognition. The event was attended by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz who, along with Senators Ed Markey, John Thune, and Bill Nelson, introduced the bipartisan bill to give the street a new name last August.

The families of Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson were on hand for the ceremony, as was Margot Lee Shetterly, the author of 'Hidden Figures'. "What's that? What does that mean?' And that, in turn, is going to prompt a story - a story about the unlimited human potential of all of us", Cruz said.

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Mendelson, who has been lobbying for statehood for the District, noted that the city is more than the seat of the federal government.

"It's not a first or an only story - it's a story of a group of women who were given a chance and who performed and who opened doors for the women who came behind them", Lee Shetterly told CBS.

Bridenstine noted that NASA is returning to the moon, this time with a diverse crew that will include a woman.

NASA announced in May that it plans to land Americans back on the moon by 2024 with the Artemis initiative, named after Apollo's twin sister who was goddess of the hunt and the moon.

"Naming this street Hidden Figures Way serves to remind us, and everyone who comes here, of the standard that was set by these women, with their commitment to science and their embodiment of the values of equality, justice and humanity", Shetterly said.

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