Muriel Bowser

NASA Honors ‘Hidden Figures' in Street Renaming Ceremony Outside NASA Headquarters

The street outside NASA HQ is being renamed to honor three black female scientists who helped take NASA to space

NASA officially renamed the street outside its Southwest D.C. headquarters "Hidden Figures Way" during a ceremony Wednesday morning to honor the pioneering black female scientists depicted in the 2016 film. 

Members of the D.C. Council unanimously voted in December 2018 to call a stretch of E Street SW Hidden Figures Way to honor 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” was a symbolic act to highlight the “historic women scientists and mathematicians who contributed to NASA’s mission despite adversity, Curbed reported in October.

Family members of the three women joined NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and author Margot Lee Shetterly, who wrote about the women in the book that inspired the motion picture film. 

The original council bill was introduced in September 2018 by Mendelson, saying that despite facing discrimination and racism, the women "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." 

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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