HONORING KATHERINE JOHNSON; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 40
(Extensions of Remarks - February 28, 2020)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E235]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                       HONORING KATHERINE JOHNSON


                          HON. KENDRA S. HORN

                              of oklahoma

                    in the house of representatives

                       Friday, February 28, 2020

  Ms. KENDRA S. HORN of Oklahoma. Madam Speaker, today I rise to honor 
the legacy of Mrs. Katherine Johnson, a beloved American hero who 
passed away on February 24, 2020, at 101 years old. Mrs. Johnson was an 
African American pioneer in aeronautical mathematics and was one of the 
original ``Hidden Figures'' behind NASA's work. Her mathematical work 
was critical to our nation's first moon landing and it is with great 
sadness that we mourn the loss of this extraordinary woman. We must 
never forget Mrs. Johnson's extraordinary accomplishments, and, we must 
ensure that her legacy will continue to live on and inspire generations 
of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.
  Born in 1918 in West Virginia during the era of Jim Crow, Katherine 
Johnson faced many challenges during her lifetime. In the face of 
adversity, Katherine became one of only three African American students 
to attend West Virginia's graduate schools. After graduating from West 
Virginia State College, she planned to dedicate her career to teaching 
at a public school in Virginia. As we now know, life took this woman in 
a very different direction.
  In 1953, Mrs. Johnson accepted a job as a ``computer'' at the 
National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), where she checked 
her superior's math to ensure accuracy for NACA, which would later 
become NASA. After only two weeks of work, she became a permanent 
mathematician for NASA and spent the next four years of her life 
analyzing flight tests. In 1958, Mrs. Johnson went on to work on 
trajectory analysis for America's first human spaceflight, Freedom 7 
Mission. Just two years later, she accomplished what no woman had--she 
coauthored equations depicting orbital spaceflight and the landing 
positions of spacecraft.
  While Mrs. Johnson's work was not given fair recognition at the time, 
her calculations were critical to bridging the gap between the United 
States and the Soviet Union in the Space Race and completing the first 
successful manned lunar landing.
  We must not forget the pioneering work of women like Katherine 
Johnson. Last year, I was proud to work with my colleagues on both 
sides of the aisle to pass legislation awarding the Congressional Gold 
Medal to Katherine Johnson and all of the ``Hidden Figures'' women who 
made NASA's work possible. During her lifetime, Katherine Johnson also 
received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2015 
for her groundbreaking work. As Chairwoman of the House Committee on 
Science, Space, and Technology, I ask my colleagues to join me in 
celebrating the life and legacy of Mrs. Katherine Johnson as an 
American trailblazer in mathematics and engineering who ultimately 
shaped space history in the United States and globally.