A School Goes From Andrew Jackson To Mary Jackson Jackson Elementary School in Salt Lake City will keep its name, but change its namesake. It will no longer be named for President Andrew Jackson, but Mary Jackson, NASA's first black female engineer.
NPR logo

A School Goes From Andrew Jackson To Mary Jackson

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/584757792/584757853" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
A School Goes From Andrew Jackson To Mary Jackson

A School Goes From Andrew Jackson To Mary Jackson

A School Goes From Andrew Jackson To Mary Jackson

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/584757792/584757853" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Jackson Elementary School in Salt Lake City will keep its name, but change its namesake. It will no longer be named for President Andrew Jackson, but Mary Jackson, NASA's first black female engineer.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Jackson Elementary School in Salt Lake City will keep its name but change its namesake. Jackson Elementary will no longer be named for Andrew Jackson, the U.S. president who owned slaves and ordered the forced brutal removal of Native Americans from their lands. This week the Salt Lake City School Board voted unanimously to name the school in honor of Mary Jackson, the first black woman to be a NASA engineer. Her story was told in the book and the movie "Hidden Figures." The Salt Lake Tribune says the crowd at the school board meeting burst into applause and a standing ovation.

Mary Jackson, who was from Virginia, died in 2005 at the age of 83. She spent 35 years at NASA, beginning in 1951, at a still segregated division called the West Area Computing Unit which calculated the trajectories of some of NASA's first space shots. She worked with children in her retirement - even helping them build a wind tunnel for science experiments at a local community center, like the kind she once helped build to test the equipment that would send men and women into space.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.