Novel: Hidden Figures
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Mary Jackson was a Black woman born and raised in Hampton. She was a talented and hardworking individual who loved her family. Mary’s success was due to her education and natural intelligence. She faced many challenges and discrimination at Langley Research Center, but she did not give up on her dreams.
Character Trait – Perseverance:
Mary Jackson was determined to achieve her goals despite facing racial and gender discrimination. When she joined West Computing, she faced humiliation and mistreatment from her white colleagues. However, Mary did not let that stop her from pursuing her dreams of becoming an engineer. She continued her education and sought “special permission” to take classes at a school that wasn’t integrated. Her persistence paid off, and she became the first Black woman engineer at Langley.
Character Trait – Advocate for Equality:
Mary Jackson was passionate about advocating for equality, particularly for Black women. She spoke out against segregation and discrimination, even when it was difficult. She used her position to help Black and white girls know that they could succeed in the workforce by focusing on science and math. Mary also worked alongside Gloria Champine to ensure that Black women and women, in general, had a fair opportunity to pursue careers as engineers.
Character Trait – Community-Oriented:
Mary Jackson was deeply connected to her community in Hampton. She helped her son become the first Black child to win the Pinewood Derby, and she helped integrate the local Girl Scout troop as a troop leader. She hosted open houses at the NACA to draw young Black students into its gates. Mary’s enthusiasm and optimistic spirit sustained her, and she was dedicated to the concept of the double V, which drove her to pursue gender equality in the sciences as a means to bridge the differences between races.
Mary Jackson was a remarkable woman who overcame many obstacles to achieve her dreams. She was a trailblazer and advocate for equality, and her dedication to her community and passion for science and math inspired many. Her story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of standing up for what is right.