HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Three pioneering women who helped pave the way for women of color during a time when race held many back are now forever honored in Hampton.
Nicknamed the “Hidden Figures,” Mary W. Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan had a huge influence on NASA during the days of the space race. However, due to the climate of the country during the time, their contributions were not properly recognized.
While the state of Virginia has over 2,700 historical markers, less than 380 honor African Americans.
The sorority chapters of which the women were involved in, as well as city and state representatives, worked for years to secure the funding and approvals to properly recognize the pioneering women for their contributions to NASA and all around them.
Margot Lee Shetterly, who wrote the award-winning book “Hidden Figures,” which was later turned into a movie said, “the motto of the City of Hampton is out of the past and into the future — and these three women are our past and future.”
With emotional speeches, the family members of each of these three women spoke about their lives — and the less-known stories of how they mentored many in the community.
If you would like to visit the markers, they are located in Downtown Hampton outside the Air and Space Center on the corner of S King Street and Settlers Landing Road.