Katherine JohnsonBy Ryan DashKatherine Goble Johnson was a African American women, who’s brave and spunky actions helped get a rocketship on the moon. She worked through ridicule, doubts, and her husband dying. She is still alive today and there has been a movie (Hidden Figures), and a book made about her.
Katherine Johnson was born into the world as Katherine Coleman on August 26, 1918. In Sulfur Springs, West Virginia. She was a very bright child who was very gifted in math. She was so good at her classes that she completed the eighth grade by age 10! Unfortunately, her town didn’t offer classes for African American kids after that point.
But her father Joshua drove 120 miles, to Institute where they decided to live as she attended high school. At 13, She went to the high school on the campus of West Virginia State College. At 18, she went the college itself. She was a star at math so she found herself a mentor. W W Schiefflin Claytor, the third african american to get a PhD in math. She graduated with highest honors and took up a teaching job at a black public school.
When West Virginia integrated its college schools Dr. John W. Davis (state president of West Virginia,) offered to put her in the flagship schools.
She accepted and left her teaching job to enroll in graduate math. She left at the end of the first session and had kids with husband. (She probably started teaching at the public school again.) In 1952 someone told her about a open spot at the all black west computing area of Langley Laboratory. Her husband (James Goble.) Moved the family to take advantage of the opportunity. In 1953 she started to work at Langley, only two weeks in, Dorothy Vaughan assigned her to a branch of flight division.
Before long it became permanent. For about four years she worked on why a plane crashed and when she was finally finishing the assignment her husband died due to cancer.In 1957 she did a bit of the math for 1958 Document on Space Technology.
When NACA (what NASA was called a long time ago.) Turned into NASA she did trajectory for someone called Allen Shepard’s May Mission, Freedom 7. In 1960 she and a engineer (Ted Skopinski) wrote a report about what a satellite saw and how it could specify where the rocketship would land.
The work she would be most known for happened in 1962. While they were preparing for the mission of a person called John Glen there was a machine that made calculations for how John Glen’s ship would fly but the crew was skeptical of putting their trust in a machine. The captain listened to the and said “if the girl agrees then it’s good by me.” There was only one girl in that area: Katherine Goble Johnson.Katherine Johnson is still alive today, (98 years old.) has three kids and is retired.
She has co-authored 26 reports. In 2015 was given the Presidental Award of Freedom by Barack Obama.Katherine Johnson made a turning point in the space race with Russia. She spoke out against racism and has had an award winning movie made about her. She was one of the only women working in NASA at the time too.Imagehttps://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/26646856911_ca242812ee_o_1.jpg