“Hidden Figures” Katherine Johnson Turns 100


Former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson is seen after President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls, Wikimedia Commons)

Katherine Johnson, who hand-crunched the numbers for America’s first manned space flight – a feat that finally got its Big Screen acknowledgement just two years ago, turned 100 on Sunday, August 26, 2018.

“[On Sunday], we celebrate Alpha Kappa Alpha’s own, Katherine Johnson. She’s credited with crunching the numbers by hand that allowed NASA to launch the first U.S. astronauts into space,” leaders of the Alpha Kappa Alpha said in a statement.

“We are women of many first. First and finest.”

Many others paid tribute via statements and social media.

“If you haven’t seen the movie about what she and other brilliant Black women at NASA accomplished, be sure to watch the fabulous movie, ‘Hidden Figure,’ in her honor,” said comic book writer Grace Randolph.

“I stand on your shoulders,” said Dr. Camille Alleyne. “You blazed the trail which I and so many have had the privilege to walk on … Katherine, you are my hero. I love, honor and salute you,” Alleyne said.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), also paid homage to Johnson.

“Katherine Johnson’s historic contributions to the evolution of applied mathematics and aerospace science epitomizes her genius to overcome the scientific challenges of her generation,” Chavis said.

“Today, African American women in particular should be inspired by the example of Katherine Johnson in STEM career fields,” Chavis said.

“The NNPA salutes Johnson’s transformative legacy that is no longer hidden.”

The recipient of the 2015 National Medal of Freedom, and a 2016 People Magazine honoree as being among the 25 Women Changing the World, Johnson enjoyed a brilliant 33-year career at NASA and her life story finall