The three women that inspired the 2016 movie Hidden Figures will be receiving a Congressional Gold Medal for their contributions to the U.S. space program
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday, sponsored by Senators Chris Coons, Lisa Murkowski and Kamala Harris, to honor engineers and mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and Christine Darden for their contributions to NASA and for paving the way for women of color in STEM.
Their stories were the subject of Margot Lee Shetterly’s book “Hidden Figures”, which was later adapted into the film starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae.
“These women were barrier breakers, and their immeasurable contributions to NASA and our nation have cemented their place in history,” Harris said in the release. “I’m proud to help recognize their achievements as they continue to serve as a beacon for black women both young and old, across the country.”
The Congressional Gold Medal is considered one of the highest civilian awards in the United States and awarded to people who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture.
In 2015, then-President Barack Obama called Johnson “a pioneer” while presenting her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“In her 33 years at NASA, Katherine was a pioneer who broke the barriers of race and gender, showing generations of young people that everyone can excel in math and science, and reach for the stars,” he said.
Several organizations backed the bill including Girl Scouts of the USA, the United Negro College Fund, and the National Association of Mathematicians among others.