(Washington, DC) – This afternoon, The White House announced that President Trump signed H.R. 1396, the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act. Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) was the lead sponsor in the Senate.
“I am thrilled to hear that the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act has been signed into law by the President,” said Chairwoman Johnson.“This bill was long overdue, and I would like to thank my colleagues in both the House and the Senate for supporting this legislation. Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Christine Darden, and all the women of NASA and NACA will now receive the recognition they deserve for their great accomplishments in the successes of the United States space program.”
“I am proud President Trump signed into law this bipartisan bill to honor Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Dr. Christine Darden and all women who contributed to NASA during the Space Race with Congressional Gold Medals,” said Senator Coons. “Women played an integral role at NASA during the Space Race, but for many years their accomplishments remained hidden. With the signing of this bill, we are recognizing these extraordinary women and bringing their accomplishments into the light so they can serve as an inspiration for generations of women scientists to come, particularly those of color.”
Quelle: The Science Committee
HIDDEN FIGURES COMMEMORATIVE ACT SIGNED INTO LAW
President Trump signed into law today a bill honoring women who worked at NASA through the 1970s and helped the agency achieve its many successes during that era. In particular, it awards congressional gold medals to four “Hidden Figures” whose contributions to putting the first Americans into space formed the basis of the book and movie of that title.
The bill, H.R. 1396, was sponsored by House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) along with 314 cosposors and passed the House on September 19. The Senate had already passed a similar bill, S. 590, sponsored by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware), but later took up Johnson’s version and passed it on October 17.
The bill awards individual congressional gold medals to Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and, posthumously, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson. A group medal will also be awarded to recognize all women who, like those four, served as human computers, mathematicians and engineers at NASA and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), from the 1930s to the 1970s.
Today Johnson and Coons issued a joint statement. Johnson said she is “thrilled” it was signed into law, calling the bill “long overdue” and thanked her colleagues in Congress for supporting it. “Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Christine Darden, and all the women of NASA and NACA will now receive the recognition they deserve for their great accomplishments in the successes of the United States space program.”
Coons said he is “proud President Trump signed” the bill into law. “Women played an integral role at NASA during the Space Race, but for many years their accomplishments remained hidden. With the signing of this bill, we are recognizing these extraordinary women and bringing their accomplishments into the light so they can serve as an inspiration for generations of women scientists to come, particularly those of color.”
Quelle: Space and Technology Policy Group
NASA's 'hidden figures' to be awarded Congressional Gold Medals
November 8, 2019
— Four of NASA's "hidden figures," together with all of the women who contributed to the agency's success in the space race to the moon, will be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest civilian awards in the United States.
President Donald Trump on Friday (Nov. 8) signed into law the "Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act," which provides for the award to mathematician Katherine Johnson and engineer Christine Darden, as well as the posthumous award to engineer Mary Jackson and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan.
The act also calls for a fifth gold medal recognizing "all women who served as computers, mathematicians and engineers at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration between the 1930s and the 1970s."
"This is an exciting opportunity to honor the pioneering generation of female mathematicians for their commitment and service to NASA and to our country," said Margot Lee Shetterly, author of "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race," in a statement issued by the House after the act passed in September. "The women who did this work came from across our country and each of their hometowns should embrace them as heroes."
Shetterly's book served as the basis for the 2016 feature film "Hidden Figures,"which dramatized the experiences of Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson.
Johnson calculated trajectories for NASA's early human spaceflights, including the suborbital launch of the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard on his 1961 Mercury mission, and the first flight of a U.S. astronaut into Earth orbit, John Glennon his 1962 Friendship 7 mission. Working with the Space Task Group, Johnson became the first woman in NASA's flight research division to receive credit as an author of a research report. She is today 101.
Vaughan led the West Area Computing unit at what is now the Langley Research Center in Virginia, becoming the first African American supervisor at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor agency to NASA. She later became a leading computer programmer as a part of the space agency's analysis and computation division. Vaughan died in 2008 at the age of 98.
Jackson was the first African American woman engineer at NASA. Later in her career, she worked to improve the prospects of NASA's female mathematicians, engineers and scientists as Langley's Federal Women's Program manager. She died in 2005 at the age of 83.
Darden, who became an engineer at NASA 16 years after Jackson, wrote over 50 articles on aeronautics design and was the first African American of any gender to be promoted into the Senior Executive Service at Langley. She is 77 today.
The Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act directs that Vaughan's medal be provided to the Smithsonian for display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Jackson's is to be presented to her granddaughter, Wanda Jackson.
"Katherine Johnson, Dr. Christine Darden, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and all the women of NASA during [their] time were pioneers," said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, chair of the House Science Committee. "In spite of the challenges these women faced, they chose to apply their considerable talents to help land the first man on the moon. The success of the NASA space program is due in large part to their brilliance, hard work, and perseverance in the face of adversity."
The Congressional Gold Medal is awarded to individuals whose achievements have had an impact on U.S. history that is likely to be recognized in the recipient's field for years to come. First bestowed to George Washington in 1776, only five other individuals involved in space exploration have been awarded to date: rocket pioneer Robert Goddard in 1959 and astronauts John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins in 2011.
As directed by the newly-signed law, the Secretary of the Treasury will determine the design for each of the Hidden Figures gold medals. Duplicates of the medals may also be produced in bronze for sale to the public.