Katherine Coleman Johnson, Black!
On February 24, 2020, at the age of 102, Katherine Johnson passed away. Her story and that of the women working with her was told in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures”. Her calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights.
Black and mathematician, NASA scientist Woman and scientist, Black woman and pioneer! What would you tell us today about your journey? What would you leave us today as lessons learned during your journey? Certainly, it was not easy to leave your ingenious legacy As a woman, and especially as a black woman. Nevertheless you pressed on… You didn’t stop And you didn’t let anyone stop you, And you endured in silence the institutionalized racial injustice. Doing your job was the only thing that mattered the most. A job well done A scientist's work, that of a NASA mathematician A pioneer’s work. Your hard work and character Resonate louder today, very loud … Some would have expected you to play the victim And thus find another reason to further marginalize you. But you remained quiet, focusing on what mattered the most: Your work, a work well done. Because you knew that even if you didn’t scream, History, one day, will scream for you, and would shout louder. Because your subconscious knew That decades and decades down the road, A black president will award you The Presidential Medal of Freedom! And across the world, During your hundreth birthday year A movie about you, will scream to the world Your hardship and your success as a black woman at NASA. Katherine, rest in peace, on this day of February 24, 2020.