In 2016 Margot Lee Shetterly released Hidden Figures, a book about the three African-American women whose influential work helped America win the Space Race. The bestselling book was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film, and now NASA is using the name to honor the legacy of these unsung heroes.
In Hidden Figures Margot Lee Shetterly tells the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson: the three female mathematicians who overcame racial and gender discrimination to help pioneer NASA’s missions during the space race. Though their work played an integral role in landing men on the moon, the women are only recently receiving recognition—in part due to the widespread success of Shetterly’s book, and subsequent film. On Wednesday the space agency formally recognized the three women by renaming the street outside of their Washington Headquarters “Hidden Figures Way.”
“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,” Shetterly told CBS. “Hidden Figures' is about taking off our blinders and recognizing the contributions of the unseen individuals.”
The dedication ceremony has been featured in The Washington Post, NPR, and USA Today. Shetterly addressed the crowd during the ceremony, saying, “Naming this street Hidden Figures Way serves to remind us, and everyone who walks 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.”
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