A ceremony Friday paid tribute to NASA’s first Black woman engineer.
NASA officially named its headquarters in the nation’s capital after Mary W. Jackson, the agency’s first Black woman engineer, using a ceremony honoring her legacy on Friday.
“Together with the official naming of this Mary W. Jackson NASA headquarters, we guarantee that she is a hidden figure no longer,” NASA acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk said during Friday’s service, that was mostly virtual on account of the pandemic.
“Jackson’s story is just one of amazing determination. She personified NASA’s spirit of persevering against all odds, providing inspiration and progressing science and exploration,” Jurczyk added. “There is no denying that she confronted numerous challenges in her work, work that would eventually help send the first Americans to distance .”
Due to engineers like Jackson, Jurczyk said,”America and the world was not only able to dream of landing among the celebrities but to create that fantasy a reality.”
The virtual ceremony Friday featured a slew of speakers that admired Jackson’s job, such as poet Nikki Giovanni, who read an excerpt from her job,”Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea.”
Mary W. Jackson died in 2005 in 83 years old.
“Grandma was a very loving, caring, and feisty girl,” Wanda Jackson said. “She was that kind of person who’d do anything for anyone, no questions asked.”
Wanda Jackson reflected about visiting the NASA headquarters as a child when her grandmother was in training, and how despite the multitude of accomplishments,”she never gloated or bragged about anything she did.”
While she is being honored publicly now, a psychological Wanda Jackson said,”she was always unique to us.”
“She was constantly our hero,” she explained. “She was constantly our star.”
Bryan Jackson said his grandma”paved the way for so many without us even knowing.”
“She was a warrior,” Bryan Jackson stated. “Someone who would not take no for an answer if she felt she was making a change to something.”