Ranking Member Johnson and Vice Chairman Lucas Introduce the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act
(Washington, DC) – Today, Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced H.R. 6795, the “Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act.” Vice Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) is an original cosponsor of the legislation. This bill awards the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’s highest civilian honor, to Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Christine Darden, and all the women computers, mathematicians, and engineers at NASA, and its precursor organization NACA, who devoted their talents in service to the United States through World War II, the Space Race, and the Cold War. During this period, women submitted their work anonymously, were paid less than their male peers, and had few opportunities for career advancement. In addition, women of color were initially subjected to the indignity of segregated dining and bathroom facilities.
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced a Senate version of the legislation, S. 3321, honoring Ms. Johnson, Jackson, Vaughan, and Darden in early August.
Ranking Member Johnson said, “The contributions of women mathematicians and engineers to the warfighting effort have for too long gone unrecognized. While hundreds of women helped bring about the Nation’s crowning technological achievement, landing the first man on the moon, their names are largely lost to history.
“Despite the numerous challenges they faced, women like Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Christine Darden faced, they persevered. Their accomplishments are inspiring for us all and will, I hope, inspire young girls to consider careers in STEM fields. The positive attention being paid to their individual stories and stories of the hundreds of women working alongside them is well deserved and long overdue.”
“From time to time, it is important for Congress to recognize citizen trailblazers who defied odds and tore down barriers,” said Congressman Lucas. “It is a great privilege to be able to honor the work of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dr. Christine Darden. The female mathematicians, engineers, and computers at NACA and NASA from the 1930s to the 1970s went above and beyond the call of duty, playing integral roles in some of America’s greatest scientific achievements. It is my honor as Vice-Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee to give long-overdue recognition to these four women and their female colleagues.”