Katherine Johnson

The International Space Station Will Have Its First African-American Crewmember

January 2017 has been a very good month for the American space program. First there was the premiere of the movie Hidden Figures, which celebrates the incredible minds and achievements of NASA legends Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. Now, on the heels of the film’s release, NASA has announced that Jeanette J. Epps will soon become the first African-American crewmember of the International Space Station (ISS).

Epps has been working toward this moment for a very long time, from her doctorate in physics and aerospace engineering to a seven-year stint as a technical intelligence officer with the CIA [PDF]. She joined NASA in 2009 as part of the agency’s 20th class of astronauts, and…

get to know Katherine Johnson The Inspiration Behind the Movie “Hidden Figures”

With an all-star cast including Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, and Jim Parsons – not to mention a compelling storyline set during the first manned NASA shuttle launch – Hidden Figures is set to wow audiences, critics, and is likely to earn some hefty award show nominations, if not wins.

But did you know that the movie is based on a true story?

Well, it is, and at the heart of that story is a woman named Katherine Johnson.

She was born a farmer’s daughter in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, where school for African-Americans stopped at 8th grade. But Katherine’s father father instilled a sense of equality in her from an early age, driving his children to school 120 miles away so they could continue their education.

“My dad taught us ‘you are as good as anybody in this town, but you’re no better.’ I don’t have a feeling of inferiority. Never had. I’m as good as anybody, but no better.”

Perhaps not better, but definitely smarter, as it turned out.

From the time she was little, Katherine loved counting things – anything and everything, and she had no mind or inclination to stop.

“I counted the steps to the road, the steps up to church, the number of dishes and silverware I washed…anything that could be counted, I did.”

Katherine graduated from high school at the age of 14 and went on to college,…