Historic Pictures Show the Hidden Women of the Space Race
Gifted in math, these African-American women were shattering stereotypes during the earliest days of NASA’s mission to the moon and beyond.
As a girl growing up in rural West Virginia, Katherine Johnson loved to count. She counted everything: the steps between her house and the road, the number of dishes she’d washed—anything that could be quantified.
Johnson started high school by the time she was 10. By 18, she’d finished college, where she excelled as a math major and was sometimes the only student in the hardest courses offered.
She was, by all accounts, brilliant.
That brilliance, which is chronicled in a recent book and the upcoming movie Hidden Figures, would eventually help the United States win the space race, a geopolitical competition that peaked with the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.
But in the first half of the 20th century, Johnson