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DC Votes to Call Street Outside NASA Headquarters ‘Hidden Figures Way’

The street name would honor three black women scientists who helped take NASA to space

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The street outside NASA headquarters could soon be named for the pioneering black women scientists depicted in the film "Hidden Figures." 

Members of the D.C. Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to call a stretch of a D.C. street Hidden Figures Way. The name honors Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary W. Jackson, who contributed to NASA’s scientific work in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

The “Hidden Figures Way Designation Act of 2018” would put a new street sign on the 300 block of E Street SW. 

As Curbed reported in October, the symbolic act is aimed at highlighting the “historic women scientists and mathematicians who contributed to NASA’s mission despite adversity.”

The bill was introduced in September by D.C. Council chairman Phil Mendelson and the entire council before gaining preliminary approval on Tuesday. The legislation will be reviewed a second time before getting a final vote in two weeks. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) then would receive the bill for signing.

Mendelson honored the scientists at a hearing. 

“Despite facing segregation and adversity, these women computers played an integral role in the development of aeronautical and aerospace research during turning points in our nation’s history, including World War II and the development of the Space Task Force," he said. 

District streets often have been used to honor or commemorate historical figures and institutions, like Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street NW.

An effort to name the street in front of the Saudi Arabian embassy for slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi is awaiting council action.

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