In Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, Katherine Johnson and her colleagues gather around a television set to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the Moon. It’s a moment that has the world watching, but Johnson has a special connection with the mission. Despite the prejudices of the day, she has overcome discrimination to become a vital part of NASA – and her brilliant mind has sent men to the stars on many occasions.
Katherine was born on August 26, 1918, in White Sulphur Springs, a popular resort city in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. Her mother Joylette worked as a teacher, while her father Joshua was employed by the grand Greenbrier Hotel. At the time, segregation was still in force in the state, and prejudices against African Americans were strong.