Tag: Utah

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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Oscar Grant film ‘Fruitvale’ Wins Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival

Ryan Coogler accepts the Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic for Fruitvale onstage at the Awards Night Ceremony during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at Basin Recreation Field House on January 26, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Ryan Coogler accepts the Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic for Fruitvale onstage at the Awards Night Ceremony during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at Basin Recreation Field House on January 26, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — The dramatic film “Fruitvale” and the documentary “Blood Brother” won over audiences and Sundance Film Festival judges.  Both American films won audience awards and grand jury prizes Saturday at the Sundance Awards.

“Fruitvale” is based on the true story of Oscar Grant, who was 22 years old when he was shot and killed in a public transit station in Oakland, California. First-time filmmaker Ryan Coogler wrote and directed the dramatic narrative.

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The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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