Living... in Virginia in the early 1960’s.
Profession... mathematician at NASA’s Langley Research Center. She works With a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physical science, Mary wants to eventually become an engineer for NASA—a position that no black woman has ever held. One roadblock she’s facing is that she needs a formal certification as an engineer, but she can’t go to school to get certified because it is for whites only. Frustrated, Mary complains, “Every time we have a chance to get ahead, they move the finish line.”
Interests... spending time with her two best friends at NASA, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughn. In their time off, they like to cut loose and dance.
Relationship status... married with a son and daughter. Mary’s husband, Levi, is a civil-rights activist. He tells her that the deck is stacked against her, and she doesn’t have a chance of becoming an engineer. He’d prefer that she stays home so she can properly take care of their children.
Challenge... confronting discrimination in all aspects of her life. On top of the challenges she faces at work, she and her black girlfriends can’t even go for a drive. After their car broke down, they were accosted by a police officer with a club in his hand. Mary stands up for their rights, saying “no crime being Negro.”
Personality... intelligent, bold, and honest. Mary carries herself with confidence and poise. With her friends, she is always first to say what is on her mind even if that might get her in trouble. She is full of wit, helping to bring laughter to her friends who face so much stress. With a strong work ethic, NASA is lucky to have her as an employee.
Mary Jackson's popularity ranking on CharacTour is #5365 out of 5,600+ characters. See our top-ranked characters and read their profiles.
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