Tag: Salt Lake City

Jackson Elementary School in Utah, Named for Andrew Jackson, Votes to Rename Itself After Mary Jackson, NASA’s 1st Black Female Engineer

Mary Jackson, NASA’s first black female engineer
Mary Jackson, NASA’s first black female engineer(Photo: NASA Langley Research Center)

by Marina Koren via theatlantic.com

An elementary school in Utah has traded one Jackson for another in a change that many say was a long time coming.

Jackson Elementary School in Salt Lake City will no longer be named for Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. president, whose slave ownership and treatment of Native Americans are often cited in the debate over memorializing historical figures associated with racism.

Instead, the school will honor Mary Jackson, the first black female engineer at nasa whose story, and the stories of others like her at the space agency, was chronicled in Hidden Figures, a 2016 film based on a book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly.

A unanimous vote by the the Salt Lake City school board this week was met with a standing ovation from the crowd in the room, reports The Salt Lake Tribune’s Erin Alberty. School employees and parents have discussed changing the elementary’s school name “for years,” Alberty reported, and last year started polling and meeting with parents, alumni, and others. More than 70 percent supported the change. Of the school’s 440 students, 85 percent are students of color, according to the Salt Lake City School District.

Mary Jackson, a native of Hampton, Virginia, worked as a math teacher, a receptionist, and an Army secretary before she arrived at NASA’s Langley Research Center in 1951 as a member of the West Area Computing unit, a segregated division where African American women spent hours doing calculations with pencil and paper, including for the trajectories of the country’s earliest space missions.

Two years in, a NASA engineer picked Jackson to help him work on a wind tunnel that tested flight hardware by blasting it with winds nearly twice the speed of sound. The engineer suggested Jackson train to become an engineer. To do that, Jackson had to take night courses in math and physics from the University of Virginia, which were held at the segregated Hampton High School. Jackson successfully petitioned the city to let her take the classes. She got her promotion to engineer in 1958. After 34 years at the space agency, Jackson retired in 1985. She died in 2005, at the age of 83.

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Michelle Obama Awards 13 Youth Arts Programs at White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calling a group of artistic youth the “next generation of fabulous,” Michelle Obama presented national arts and humanities awards to 12 after-school programs from across the country and one international program from Honduras.

Honorees included a musical theater program co-created by comedian Rosie O’Donnell that serves low-income students in New York City.

The first lady presented the awards Tuesday to recognize the nation’s best youth programs that use arts and humanities to develop skills and increase academic achievement. She honored programs that teach ceramics, dance, music, writing, science and more. Each of the U.S. programs will receive $10,000.

The annual White House ceremony included a live performance from winning program, A Commitment to Excellence, or ACTE II. The New York group performed a song and dance medley including “I Got Rhythm,” ”Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and “Empire State of Mind.”

“Wow…that wasn’t singing, that was ‘sanging,’” Mrs. Obama quipped, referring to the group which she predicted is destined for Broadway.

Mrs. Obama urged continued funding and support for arts and humanities programs, which she said also teach students problem-solving, teamwork and discipline.

“There are millions of kids like these with talent all over the place, and it’s hidden and it’s untapped and that’s why these programs are so important,” Mrs. Obama said. “We wouldn’t know that all this existed without any of these programs and that would be a shame.”

The 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are hosted by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with three national cultural agencies.

The 13 programs recognized with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award during the White House ceremony are:

— A Commitment to Excellence (ACTE II), New York.

—Action Arts and Science Program, Sioux Falls, S.D.

—Art High, Pasadena, Calif.

—CityDance DREAM Program, Washington.

—Spy Hop Productions, Salt Lake City.

—Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee.

—Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Inc., New Orleans.

—VSA Indiana, Inc. , Indianapolis.

—The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.

—Deep Center, Inc., Savannah, Ga.

—The Telling Room, Portland, Maine.

—Caldera, Portland, Oregon.

—Organization for Youth Empowerment (OYE), El Progreso, Honduras.

article by Stacy A. Anderson, AP via blackamericaweb.com

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