We get so caught up in the daily grind of work and family that we can often forget that there are bigger things out there. Three working moms didn’t let that get in the way of making history.
Katherine married James and started a family. They had three daughters: Constance, Joylette, and Katherine. Her husband died of an inoperable brain tumor and a few years later she re-married. Katherine earned a PhD in math and worked as a Physicist and Mathematician. (Source)
Dorothy married Howard and the couple had four children. She earned a B.A. in mathematics and worked for 28 years in this discipline. (Source)
Mary was married with two children. She earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physical science, worked as a research mathematician, and later became an engineer. (Source)
How Three Working Moms Made History
Three brilliant African-American women who worked in professional positions at NASA, helped the United States advance during the Space Race. Mathematician Katherine Goble Johnson and her two colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, worked in the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
Using the group’s calculations, NASA supported John Glenn in becoming the first American astronaut to make a complete orbit of Earth in 1969. (Source)
Their story can be read in a book titled Hidden Figures. It’s also been turned into a movie, which is currently in theaters. You can preorder the Hidden Figures movie here. A Hidden Figures: The Album and special called Hidden Figures: HBO First Look is also available.
How You Can Make History, Too
You are creating your own history in your family. Making history doesn’t have to be worldwide or nationwide. Rather, you can make history in your family, at work, in your community, at your child’s school, or in your church.
I made history in my family by being the first to graduate from college. My high school graduation was at the top of my class from an integrated high school, with joint graduation from a governor’s school dedicated to the interconnections between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
I was so blessed to have all of my family (including both of my grandmothers) attend my graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill, which is in the Top 30 colleges in the US.
Neither of these women graduated from high school, far less college. Neither had used a computer or understood the work I do for the advertising agency I work for.
Although I don’t work in a mathematics-related industry or job, I attended a school that specialized in STEM. This story about Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary is so near and dear to my heart because they worked in Virginia, my home state. All of these pieces make me feel so connected to these great ladies.
What could you do to make history in your own life?
Books to Inspire Girls in STEM
- Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars
- Summary and Analysis of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women
- Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race: Based on the Book by Margot Lee Shetterly
- The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars
- Rocket Girl: The Story of Mary Sherman Morgan, America’s First Female Rocket Scientist
- Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
- The Untold Saga Of Katherine Johnson – Nasa Mathematician: “Human Computer
Related Black History Posts:
- How to Give Your Children Inner Strength
- 5 Powerful Ways to Empower Our Daughters
- How to Make Black History Month Personal to You
- 20 Best Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes
- How to Celebrate Your Heritage
- 20 Movies About Black History to Stream on Netflix
- 10 More Black History Movies on Netflix