Tag: Virginia

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.

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

Retired Mathematician Gladys West is One of the People to Thank for the Development of GPS

In a Jan. 19, 2018 photo, Gladys West and her husband Ira West stand in their home in King George, Va. West was part of the team that developed the Global Positioning System in the 1950s and 1960s. (Mike Morones/The Free Lance-Star via AP)

byCathy Dyson, The (Fredericksburg, Va.) Free Lance-Star/AP via militarytimes.com

Gladys West was putting together a short bio about herself for a sorority function that recognized senior members of the group.

She noted her 42-year career at the Navy base at Dahlgren and devoted one short-and-sweet line to the fact she was part of the team that developed the Global Positioning System in the 1950s and 1960s.

Fellow Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority member Gwen James was blown away by the statement. The two had known each other for more than 15 years, and James had no idea that the soft-spoken and sharp-minded West played such a “pivotal role” in a technology that’s become a household word.

“GPS has changed the lives of everyone forever,” James said. “There is not a segment of this global society — military, auto industry, cell phone industry, social media, parents, NASA, etc. — that does not utilize the Global Positioning System.”

The revelation that her 87-year-old sorority sister was one of the “Hidden Figures” behind GPS motivated James to share it with the world. “I think her story is amazing,” James added.

West, who lives in King George County, VA, admits she had no idea at the time — when she was recording satellite locations and doing accompanying calculations — that her work would affect so many. “When you’re working every day, you’re not thinking, ‘What impact is this going to have on the world?’ You’re thinking, ‘I’ve got to get this right.’ ”

 And get it right she did, according to those who worked with her or heard about her.

In a 2017 message about Black History Month, Capt. Godfrey Weekes, then-commanding officer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, described the “integral role” played by West.

“She rose through the ranks, worked on the satellite geodesy (science that measures the size and shape of Earth) and contributed to the accuracy of GPS and the measurement of satellite data,” he wrote. “As Gladys West started her career as a mathematician at Dahlgren in 1956, she likely had no idea that her work would impact the world for decades to come.”

As a girl growing up in Dinwiddie County south of Richmond, all Gladys Mae Brown knew was that she didn’t want to work in the fields, picking tobacco, corn and cotton, or in a nearby factory, beating tobacco leaves into pieces small enough for cigarettes and pipes, as her parents did. “I realized I had to get an education to get out,” she said.

When she learned that the valedictorian and salutatorian from her high school would earn a scholarship to Virginia State College (now University), she studied hard and graduated at the top of her class. She got her free ticket to college, majored in math and taught two years in Sussex County before she went back to school for her master’s degree.

She sought jobs where she could apply her skills and eventually got a call from the Dahlgren base, then known as the Naval Proving Ground and now called Naval Support Facility Dahlgren. “That’s when life really started,” she said.

Continue reading “Retired Mathematician Gladys West is One of the People to Thank for the Development of GPS”

New $5 Million Program Via Non-Profit Company, Capital Impact Partners, Helps Black Developers Rebuild Detroit

Developer Cliff Brown and Melinda Clemons from Capital Impact Partners. (Image: Courtesy of Capital Impact Partners)

by Jeffrey McKinney via blackenterprise.com

African American real estate developers in Detroit will get financing and training opportunities to grow their businesses courtesy of a $5 million program being offered by Capital Impact Partners. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is investing $500,000 into Capital Impact Partner’s Equitable Development Initiative to increase the number of minority developers in Detroit.

The pilot program is part of a larger move to encourage small diverse developers to work on larger products and give them the resources to be successful. The two-year initiative will allow black developers to take part in Detroit’s economic recovery by providing them flexible capital, one-on-one mentorships with local experts, and formalized training to support real estate companies they own and operate.

Capital Impact Partners is an Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit community development financial institution that offers loans, grants, and other financial services to underserved U.S. cities. It also has offices in Detroit and Oakland. The program is geared to spur the development of small-and mid-sized mixed-use, multifamily residential projects in the city’s mixed-use corridors.

Capital Impact Partners stated in a news release that of the $152 million loaned in Detroit between 2006 and 2015, projects led by minority developers received only 10% of the financing. Detroit has nearly 50,000 minority-owned small businesses, making it the nation’s fourth-largest city for minority entrepreneurship.

Melinda Clemons, Detroit Market Lead at Capital Impact Partners, says stumbling blocks for African American real estate developers are experience, knowledge of upcoming developments, and access to financing. She says Capital Impact Partners is in the process of raising $5 million to support the program. “We’re trying to remove the barriers that have hindered African American developers in Detroit from participating in the city’s revitalization.”

Officials hope the Detroit initiative will mirror successful efforts in other areas. “We’ve seen success in the implementation of similar type programs in other cities like Milwaukee and Los Angeles and are confident this new effort will ensure that the brick-and-mortar development component of Detroit’s economic growth continues to be inclusive,” Clemons said in a press release.

To be eligible, program participants must be developers of color from the Detroit area with some real estate development experience. Developers planning to build a 6 to 20 residential unit, multifamily or mixed-use development in Detroit’s targeted redevelopment areas will be given priority. Developers that don’t have a planned project will also be considered for the program. Participants will get help in several areas, including project budgeting, real estate finance, project and contractor management, legal services, and community engagement.Applications must be completed by the end of November.

For more details and where to apply visit: www.capitalimpact.org/focus/place-based-revitalization/detroit-program/equitable-development-initiative.

To read full article, go to: New $5 Million Program Helps Black Developers Rebuild Detroit – Black Enterprise

NBA Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and News Anchor Robin Roberts Receive 2017 Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robin Roberts receive Ellis Island Heritage Awards for 2017 (photo via thepostgame.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

On Tuesday, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. honored basketball legend, author and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and ABC’s Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts, among others at its 2017 Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards, held in the Great Hall at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Anchor and Managing Editor of ABC World News Tonight, David Muir, served as master of ceremonies.

Now in its 14th year, the Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards celebrates the extraordinary lives and heritage of selected citizens, or their descendants, who have made major contributions to the American experience. From sports heroes, entertainers and authors to former Secretaries of State and Nobel Prize winners, more than 50 esteemed citizens have been recognized by the Foundation.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the grandson of immigrants from Trinidad. Robin Roberts has roots in Virginia where her ancestors were slaves. When speaking at the event, according to thepostgame.com, Abdul-Jabbar said none of his success in the United States would have been possible if not for the leap of faith made by Abdul-Jabbar’s paternal grandparents, Cyrus and Venus Alcindor, 100 years ago, when they immigrated from Trinidad to the United States. “I’ve always understood myself to be a second-generation immigrant,” Abdul-Jabbar says. “It fits in with so many other stories like it.”

As reported by nj.com, Roberts captured the theme of the event best, when she said: “My mother had this wonderful way of saying: just look all around us … we all may have traveled here in different ways, but there are far more similarities than differences, so why not embrace and celebrate all of those many things that we have in common instead of those few differences.”

This year, the Family Heritage Awards also recognized the 125th anniversary of Ellis Island, which opened in 1892 as the nation’s preeminent immigration station.

Katherine G. Johnson Computational Facility Opens at NASA Langley Research Center

NASA Legend Katherine Johnson with Dr. Yvonne Cagle (photo by Megan Shinn via 11alive.com)

via 11alive.com

HAMPTON, Va. (WVEC) — An American treasure is being honored in Hampton. A new facility at the NASA Langley Research Center is named after Katherine Johnson. She’s the woman featured in the movie “Hidden Figures” for her inspiring work at NASA Langley. People knew the mathematician as a “human computer” who calculated America’s first space flights in the 1960s. “I liked what I was doing, I liked work,” said Katherine.

The 99-year-old worked for NASA at a time when it was extremely difficult for African-Americans — especially women — to get jobs in the science field. “My problem was to answer questions, and I did that to the best of my ability at all time,” said Katherine. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. She said, “I was excited for something new. Always liked something new.” U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck, and “Hidden Figures” author Margot Lee Shetterly were among the dignitaries who were on hand to honor Johnson.

Governor McAuliffe said, “Thank goodness for the movie and the book that actually came out and people got to understand what this woman meant to our county. I mean she really broke down the barriers.” The Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility (CRF) is a $23 million, 37,000-square-foot energy efficient structure that consolidates five Langley data centers and more than 30 server rooms. One NASA astronaut, Doctor Yvonne Cagle, said Katherine is the reason she is an astronaut today. “This is remarkable, I mean it really shows that when you make substantive contributions like this, that resonate both on and off the planet. There’s no time like the present.” Doctor Cagle said she’s excited the new building is named after Katherine. “Thank you all, thank everyone for recognizing and bringing to light this beautiful hidden figure,” said Cagle.

The facility will enhance NASA’s efforts in modeling and simulation, big data, and analysis. Much of the work now done by wind tunnels eventually will be performed by computers like those at the CRF. NASA Deputy Director of Center Operations, Erik Weiser said, this new facility will help them with their anticipated Mars landing in 2020.

Source: NASA legend Katherine Johnson honored in Hampton | 11alive.com

Dr. Vivian Penn Honored by University of Virginia Medical Center with Hall Dedicated in her Name

Dr. Vivian Pinn (photo via nbc29.com)

via nbc29.com

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -As part of University of Virginia’s efforts to reconcile its controversial past, Wednesday, it formally dedicated Pinn Hall in honor of Dr. Vivian Pinn. Pinn is one of the earliest African-American women to graduate from the UVA School of Medicine. She went on to found the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health.

The school celebrated her life and legacy during the “Medical Center Hour” held Wednesday. “I don’t see this as an honor for me but really as a symbol for women, people of color, and others who struggled to see this name just as a symbol for them, for the pioneers who proceeded me and hopefully the many who will come behind me,” Pinn said.

Pinn College, one of the medical school’s four colleges, is also named after Pinn.

To read more and see video, go to: University of Virginia Medical Center Dedicates Hall to African- – NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

College of William and Mary Creating Mural to Honor Lynn Briley, Karen Ely and Janet Brown, 1st Black Students Who Lived on Campus

Left to right: Janet Brown Strafer, Karen Ely, Lynn Briley were the first African-American students to live at William & Mary. (Photo by Ameya Jammi ’12)

via jbhe.com

The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the first Black residential students on campus by creating a mural that will be permanently displayed at the university’s Swen Library.

In the fall of 1967, Lynn Briley, Karen Ely, and Janet Brown became the first African American students to live in residential housing. All three graduated four years later in 1971. The three women all came to the university last month to have bronze casts made of their faces, which will be included on the mural.

Bob Leek, a local potter who participated in the creation of the bronze masks, stated that “this is an amazing process, and what we’re going to create is just going to be amazing; it’s just going to be very powerful.” The mural will be unveiled on August 31.

A video about the making of the masks of the three women can be seen below:

Source: College of William and Mary Honoring the First Black Students Who Lived on Campus : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

City of Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues in Overnight Operation 

(Workers removed the Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson monument in Baltimore. JERRY JACKSON / THE BALTIMORE SUN, VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS)

by Russell Goldman via nytimes.com

Statues dedicated to Confederate heroes were swiftly removed across Baltimore in the small hours of Wednesday morning, just days after violence broke out over the removal of a similar monument in neighboring Virginia.

Beginning soon after midnight on Wednesday, a crew, which included a large crane and a contingent of police officers, began making rounds of the city’s parks and public squares, tearing the monuments from their pedestals and carting them out of town.Small crowds gathered at each of the monuments and the mood was “celebratory,” said Baynard Woods, the editor at large of The Baltimore City Paper, who documented the removals on Twitter. “The police are being cheerful and encouraging people to take photos and selfies,” Mr. Woods said in an interview.

The statues were taken down by order of Mayor Catherine Pugh, after the City Council voted on Monday for their removal. The city had been studying the issue since 2015, when a mass shooting by a white supremacist at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., prompted a renewed debate across the South over removing Confederate monuments and battle flags from public spaces.

To see more and read full article, go to: Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues in Overnight Operation – NYTimes.com

Marshawn Lynch Sits During National Anthem in Raiders Pre-season Game

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) sits during the national anthem prior to the team’s NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

by Jeremy Woo via si.com

Oakland Raiders player Marshawn Lynch appeared to stage a silent protest before Oakland’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, taking a seat during the playing of the national anthem. AP photographers snapped Lynch taking a seat on a cooler on the sidelines as the anthem played.

Lynch’s apparent protest comes in wake of this weekend’s violent white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Va. and falls in line with what Colin Kaepernick started around the NFL last season as players found ways to protest racism and police brutality during the playing of the anthem before games.In Charlottesville, white nationalists with torches marched, chanted racial slurs and attacked counter-protestors in Charlottesville on Friday and Saturday.  The situation escalated and resulted in one person’s death and 19 injured after a car driven by an angry member of a white nationalist group plowed over another group of counter-protestors.

LeBron James is chief among a number of other athletes who have spoken up against the violent, racist rhetoric on display. Lynch came out of a one-year retirement to join his hometown Raiders this season. He is expected to play a major role for the team this year.

To read more, go to: Marshawn Lynch sits during national anthem in Raiders preseason | SI.com

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to White Nationalists: ‘There is No Place for You in America… Shame on You… You Are Anything But A Patriot’

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (photo via variety.com)

by Ted Johnson via Variety.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe condemned the white supremacists whose rally in Charlottesville, Va. led to clashes and at least one death, telling the Nazi marchers that “there is no place for you here. There is no place for you in America… Shame on you. You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but a patriot,” he said.

McAuliffe appeared at a press conference in Charlottesville in the aftermath of the bloody confrontations on the street. Earlier in the day, he declared a state of emergency to assist authorities in the city in controlling the situation. Police said that a 32-year-old woman was killed as she was crossing the street and a car was driven into a crowd of counter-demonstrators. The driver of the vehicle has been apprehended and the case is being treated as a criminal homicide, with 19 more injured in the incident. Police have not released the name of the victim or the suspect.

State police also are investigating a helicopter crash that occurred in a wooded area near Charlottesville that occurred just before 5 p.m. ET on Saturday. A spokeswoman confirmed that two people were killed in the crash, but did not verify if the helicopter belonged to the Virginia State Police. Throughout the day, cable news networks played shocking and even chilling images of neo-Nazis and white nationalists marching in the streets of Charlottesville as they were protesting plans to remove a statute of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. They quickly clashed with counter-protesters before police declared an unlawful assembly and ordered them to disburse.

McAuliffe said that he spoke with Trump on Saturday and twice told him that “there has got to be a movement in this country to bring people together. The hatred and the rhetoric that has gone on and it’s intensified over the last couple of months is dividing this great nation.” Trump, too, responded with tweets and a statement calling for unity, and condemning “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

But he faced criticism for not specifically calling out the white supremacists or citing the car crash. Some members of Trump’s own party called on the President to specifically cite the Charlottesville tragedy as a terror attack, or to call out white nationalists.

To read full article, go to: Virginia Governor to White Nationalists: ‘No Place for You Here’ | Variety

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