Mary W. Jackson was born on April 9th, 1921, in Hampton, Virginia. She graduated from the Hampton Institute in 1942 with a double major in Math and the Physical Sciences, and became a math teacher at an all-black school in Maryland. After job hopping for nine years, she ended up working for an early version of NASA in 1951, working under Dorothy Vaughan. Eventually, she was offered a job working with lots of hands-on experience conducting experiments regarding spaceships in flight at a different location on the campus. It was suggested to her that she complete a training program (which, back then, was through an all-white school) to become an engineer, which would essentially be a promotion. She attended those segregated classes, and in 1958 became NASA’s first black female engineer. She passed away in February of 2005.
Legacy: In 2021, the Washington D.C. headquarters of NASA was renamed the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters.