HAMPTON, Va. – A hero of the hometown wanted to focus attention on a group of black women whose roles in history were overlooked. She did that, and ended up receiving a lot more.
On Wednesday, the Hampton resident of Charlottesville and current Margot Lee Shetterly received the City's Distinguished Citizens Medal for drawing national attention to an important chapter of her story in her book "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of Black Women Mathematics that helped win the space race."
the story of black women mathematicians, Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, who helped throw Americans into orbit and land on the moon thanks to their calculations as "human computers" for the Langley Research Center Hampton's NASA Johnson, Jackson and Vaughan did the calculations before the computer, since we know it was invented, all while overcoming racism and sexism.
"Hidden Figures" was adapted into the hit movie of 2016 starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe and Kevin Costner; raised $ 236 million at the box office, garnered three Oscar nominations and was named one of the top 10 by the National Board of Review.
In addition to bringing this remarkable story to the masses, the graduate of Phoebus High School and the University of Virginia student also founded The Human Computer Project, which aims to recover the names and achievements of all the women who worked in the STEM fields in NACA and NASA from the 1930s to the 1980s.
The Distinguished Citizen Medal was established in 1964 and is Hampton's version of a key to the city and is given to people who "have been recognized with a state, national or international award that honors the City of Hampton. " Shetterly is one of the less than three dozen recipients.
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