Andrew to Mary? Yes, yes, yes! That was the response from stakeholders in the Salt Lake City school district this week when they were asked if they supported changing the name of the city’s oldest elementary school.
Andrew Jackson Elementary is named after one of America’s most racist presidents. That the man who brought us the Trail of Tears was the namesake of a school with a student population of that is more than 80% students of color was finally too much.
Above, Mary Jackson at work.
The school will be renamed Mary Jackson Elementary, after the African American engineer whose work made the moon landing possible. You probably know her story from the book and film Hidden Figures.
But before she was an engineer, she was a math teacher in Baltimore. As a black woman, she had to receive special permission to attend physics and math graduate classes in Virginia, a segregated state.
And now she’s breaking barriers again. Thirteen years after her death, she is the first woman to have a school in Utah names after her. That is a fact to be angry about, but, for now, to celebrate!