Katherine Johnson was instrumental in doing the math responsible for putting men on the Moon.
As a youth, her family relocated 120 miles since there was no high school offered to Blacks in her hometown. She graduated high school early at fourteen and graduated college at eighteen.
She was a teacher until she applied to be a “computer,” a woman hired to perform calculations for engineers at the precursor to NASA. She calculated the trajectory for the flight of the first American in Space as well as the 1961 Mercury Mission. Even when machine computers were first used to determine John Glenn’s orbit around the Earth in 1962, Johnson was called in to double check the results.