Text: H.R.1396 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 116-68 (11/08/2019)
[116th Congress Public Law 68]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[[Page 133 STAT. 1129]]
Public Law 116-68
To award Congressional Gold Medals to Katherine Johnson and Dr.
Christine Darden, to posthumously award Congressional Gold Medals to
Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, and to award a Congressional Gold
Medal to honor all of the women who contributed to the success of the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration during the Space
Race. <<NOTE: Nov. 8, 2019 - [H.R. 1396]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Hidden Figures
Congressional Gold Medal Act. 31 USC 5111 note.>>
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Hidden Figures Congressional Gold
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) In 1935, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
(referred to in this section as ``NACA'') hired five women to
serve as the first ``computer pool'' at the Langley Memorial
Aeronautical Laboratory where those women took on work making
calculations that male engineers had made previously.
(2) During the 1940s, NACA began recruiting African-American
women to work as computers and initially separated those women
from their White counterparts in a group known as the ``West
Area Computers'' where the women were restricted to segregated
dining and bathroom facilities.
(3) Katherine Johnson was born on August 26, 1918, in White
Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
(4) In 1953, Katherine Johnson began her career in
aeronautics as a computer in the segregated West Area Computing
unit described in paragraph (2).
(5) As a member of the Flight Research Division, Katherine
Johnson analyzed data from flight tests. After NACA was
reformulated into the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (referred to in this section as ``NASA''),
(A) calculated the trajectory for Alan Shepard's
Freedom 7 mission in 1961, which was the first human
spaceflight by an individual from the United States;
(B) coauthored a report that provided the equations
for describing orbital spaceflight with a specified
landing point, which made her the first woman to be
recognized as an author of a report from the Flight
(C) was asked to verify the calculations when
electronic computers at NASA were used to calculate the
orbit for John Glenn's Friendship 7 mission; and
[[Page 133 STAT. 1130]]
(D) provided calculations for NASA throughout her
career, including for the Apollo missions.
(6) Katherine Johnson retired from NASA in 1986.
(7) Dr. Christine Darden was born on September 10, 1942, in
Monroe, North Carolina.
(8) In 1962, Dr. Christine Darden graduated from Hampton
Institute with a B.S. in Mathematics and a teaching credential.
(9) Dr. Christine Darden attended Virginia State University
where she studied aerosol physics and earned an M.S. in Applied
(10) Dr. Christine Darden began her career in aeronautics in
1967 as a data analyst at NASA's Langley Research Center
(referred to in this section as ``Langley'') before being
promoted to aerospace engineer in 1973. Her work in this
position resulted in the production of low-boom sonic effects,
which revolutionized aerodynamics design.
(11) Dr. Christine Darden completed her education by earning
a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from George Washington
University in 1983.
(12) While working at NASA, Dr. Christine Darden--
(A) was appointed to be the leader of the Sonic Boom
Team, which worked on designs to minimize the effects of
sonic booms by testing wing and nose designs for
(B) wrote more than 50 articles on aeronautics
(C) became the first African American to be promoted
to a position in the Senior Executive Service at
(13) Dorothy Vaughan was born on September 20, 1910, in
Kansas City, Missouri.
(14) Dorothy Vaughan began working for NACA in 1943. Dorothy
(A) started at NACA as a member of the West Area
(B) was promoted to be the head of the West Area
Computing unit, becoming NACA's first African-American
supervisor, a position that she held for 9 years; and
(C) became an expert programmer in FORTRAN as a
member of NASA's Analysis and Computation Division.
(15) Dorothy Vaughan retired from NASA in 1971 and died on
November 10, 2008.
(16) Mary Jackson was born on April 9, 1921, in Hampton,
(17) Mary Jackson started her career at NACA in 1951,
working as a computer as a member of the West Area Computing
(18) After petitioning the City of Hampton to allow her to
take graduate-level courses in math and physics at night at the
all-White Hampton High School, Mary Jackson was able to complete
the required training to become an engineer, making her NASA's
first female African-American engineer.
(19) Mary Jackson--
(A) while at NACA and NASA--
(i) worked in the Theoretical Aerodynamics
Branch of the Subsonic-Transonic Aerodynamics
Division at Langley where she analyzed wind tunnel
and aircraft flight data; and
[[Page 133 STAT. 1131]]
(ii) published a dozen technical papers that
focused on the boundary layer of air around
(B) after 21 years working as an engineer at NASA,
transitioned to a new job as Langley's Federal Women's
Program Manager where she worked to improve the
prospects of NASA's female mathematicians, engineers,
(20) Mary Jackson retired from NASA in 1985 and died in
(21) These four women, along with the other African-American
women in NASA's West Area Computing unit, were integral to the
success of the early space program. The stories of these four
women exemplify the experiences of hundreds of women who worked
as computers, mathematicians, and engineers at NACA beginning in
the 1930s and their handmade calculations played an integral
(A) aircraft testing during World War II;
(B) supersonic flight research;
(C) sending the Voyager probes to explore the solar
(D) the United States landing the first man on the
SEC. 3. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDALS.
(a) Presentation Authorized.--The Speaker of the House of
Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make
appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of Congress, of
five gold medals of appropriate design as follows:
(1) One gold medal to Katherine Johnson in recognition of
her service to the United States as a mathematician.
(2) One gold medal to Dr. Christine Darden for her service
to the United States as an aeronautical engineer.
(3) In recognition of their service to the United States
during the Space Race--
(A) one gold medal commemorating the life of Dorothy
(B) one gold medal commemorating the life of Mary
(4) One gold medal in recognition of all women who served as
computers, mathematicians, and engineers at the National
Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration between the 1930s and the 1970s
(referred to in this section as ``recognized women'').
(b) Design and Striking.-- <<NOTE: Determination.>> For the purpose
of the awards under subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury
(referred to in this Act as the ``Secretary'') shall strike each gold
medal described in that subsection with suitable emblems, devices, and
inscriptions, to be determined by the Secretary.
(c) Transfer of Certain Medals After Presentation.--
(1) Smithsonian institution.--
(A) In general.--After the award of the gold medal
commemorating the life of Dorothy Vaughan under
subsection (a)(3)(A) and the award of the gold medal in
recognition of recognized women under subsection (a)(4),
those medals shall be given to the Smithsonian
Institution where the medals shall be--
[[Page 133 STAT. 1132]]
(i) available for display, as appropriate; and
(ii) made available for research.
(B) Sense of congress.--It is the sense of Congress
that the Smithsonian Institution should make the gold
medals received under subparagraph (A) available for--
(i) display, particularly at the National
Museum of African American History and Culture; or
(ii) loan, as appropriate, so that the medals
may be displayed elsewhere.
(2) Transfer to family.-- <<NOTE: Wanda Jackson.>> After the
award of the gold medal in honor of Mary Jackson under
subsection (a)(3)(B), the medal shall be given to her
granddaughter, Wanda Jackson.
SEC. 4. DUPLICATE MEDALS.
Under regulations that the Secretary may promulgate, the Secretary
may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold medals struck under
this Act, at a price sufficient to cover the cost of the medals,
including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and overhead
SEC. 5. STATUS OF MEDALS.
(a) National Medals.--The medals struck under this Act are national
medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.
(b) Numismatic Items.--For purposes of sections 5134 and 5136 of
title 31, United States Code, all medals struck under this Act shall be
considered to be numismatic items.
SEC. 6. AUTHORITY TO USE FUND AMOUNTS; PROCEEDS OF SALE.
(a) Authority To Use Fund Amounts.--There is authorized to be
charged against the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund such
amounts as may be necessary to pay for the costs of the medals struck
under this Act.
(b) Proceeds of Sale.--Amounts received from the sale of duplicate
bronze medals authorized under section 4 shall be deposited into the
United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund.
SEC. 7. DETERMINATION OF BUDGETARY EFFECTS.
The budgetary effects of this Act, for the purpose of complying with
the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, shall be determined by
reference to the latest statement titled ``Budgetary Effects of PAYGO
Legislation'' for this Act, submitted for printing in the
[[Page 133 STAT. 1133]]
Congressional Record by the Chairman of the House Budget Committee,
provided that such statement has been submitted prior to the vote on
Approved November 8, 2019.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 1396 (S. 590):
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 165 (2019):
Sept. 19, considered and passed House.
Oct. 17, considered and passed Senate.