Katherine Johnson not only had herself solidified in history with the award-winning movie, Hidden Figures, she has also another honor: a research building of NASA being named after her.
Johnson was a “human computer” at Langley who calculated trajectories for America’s first spaceflights. She worked at Langley from 1953 until retiring in 1986. After the truth came out and Johnson’s story began to become hidden no more, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by then-President Barack Obama at the White House in 2015.
When she heard that NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, would name its newest building after her, Katherine Johnson responded in the only way should could — honestly.
“You want my honest answer? I think they’re crazy,” the 99-year-old Johnson, of “Hidden Figures” fame, said with a laugh.
The Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility, or CRF, was dedicated Sept. 22 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by family and friends of Johnson and her fellow “human computers,” students from Black Girls Code and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, and special guests from across Virginia.
“You have been a trailblazer,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said during the ceremony.