The film Hidden Figures reveals the untold true story of a team of African-American women mathematicians, or “human computers” who helped the success of the Apollo Moon landings program in the 1960s. This is about three African-American women working in segregated NASA in 1961, 62 and 63.
After I have watched the trailer I have decided on two characters from the movie that I want to know more about, John Glenn and Katherine Johnson.
John Herschel Glenn (1921-2016) was a United States Marine Corps aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States Senator from Ohio. In 1962 he was the first American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times. Before he joined NASA, Glenn was a distinguished fighter pilot in World War Two, and Korea with six Distinguished Flying Crosses and eighteen clusters on his Air Medal.
What happened to the three African-American women, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, after the period described in the movie?
Katherine Johnson added another extraordinary achievement to her long list: President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.
Dorothy Vaughn became an expert FORTRAN programmer, and she also contributed to the Scout Launch Vehicle Program. She retired from NASA in 1971. She sought, but never received, another management position at Langley.
Mary Jackson retired from Langley in 1985. Among her many honors were an Apollo Group Achievement Award, and being named Langley’s Volunteer of the Year in 1976.v