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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: It’s a shame that it took a movie to make Katherine Johnson widely known

Former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2015.
Former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2015.
(Bill Ingalls / NASA )

To the editor: The tragedy of the late NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson’s life is that it took a movie, “Hidden Figures,” to bring her remarkable story to light, considering that famed astronauts John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin along with the rest of the space program knew of her invaluable contribution for decades.

But such is the history of many African Americans’ extraordinary accomplishments in this country — hidden.

Tracy Nadeau, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I’m so proud of this remarkable woman. She was not alone in asserting her right to be included and accepted as an important part of our space program, and I’m glad she and others were brought to our attention in the movie “Hidden Figures.”

Thankfully, Johnson lived to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to know she made a difference that echoed beyond herself. So many pioneering women and people of color go unrecognized, their accomplishments often stolen by white men.

Hopefully, times are changing. The #MeToo movement has encouraged women to speak out. Gender is now at the forefront. We must revisit our history and discover the talent and intelligence of all people who achieved remarkable things in a hostile environment.

Thank you, Mrs. Johnson, for fighting for your rights and the rights of people who were not white and male.
Suzanne Brugman, La Habra Heights

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To the editor: I read the obituary of Johnson with great interest and noted that she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2015.

Compare this to President Trump giving the same award to that great intellectual and patriot, Rush Limbaugh.

Michael D. Mauer, Los Angeles


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