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African American Mathematician Katherine Johnson Dies at Age of 101

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In very happenstantial timing, mathematician Katherine Johnson has died at the age of 101 in the midst of Black History Month.

Katherine Johnson was an African American woman who, through her mathematical work, helped make It possible for the first American astronaut to successfully orbit the Earth back in 1962.

She was one of many incredible African American women to work for NASA, all of whom were the figures celebrated in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures,” starring influential African American actresses Taraji P. Hensen, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae.

Due to her accolades and incredible work as a mathematician, Johnson received he Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 during President Obama’s time in office.  

She was an incredible woman, and it’s sad to see her pass in the midst of Black History Month, but that gives us all the more reason to celebrate her incredible feats and strides for women and African American individuals. She isn’t just crucial to Black History; she is crucial to American history, to history in general. Women like her made it so women today can feel confident in their abilities, can take advantage of opportunities now offered to us, and can gain credit for the incredible things we can do.

For all of that, we thank her. May you rest in peace, Katherine.

Check out ABC News article here.

Katherine Johnson circa 1966. 

Image owned by NASA, part of the Donaldson Collection.