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2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives are saddened to learn of the death of Katherine
4Johnson, who passed away on February 24, 2020; and
5    WHEREAS, Katherine Johnson was born to Joylette and Joshua
6Coleman in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia on August 26,
71918; at the age of 15, she enrolled at West Virginia State
8College and graduated with the highest honors in math and
9French in 1937; with research opportunities for black female
10teenage mathematicians negligible, she took a job as a school
11teacher in Marion, Virginia, where she met and married James
12Goble; and
13    WHEREAS, Katherine Johnson and her husband moved to
14Morrisville, West Virginia, where she was the first black woman
15to enroll in a master's class at West Virginia University in
16Morgantown; she left academia to raise her children but
17returned to teaching after her children were grown; and
18    WHEREAS, In June of 1953, Katherine Johnson was hired as a
19computer by Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory; though
20she faced Jim Crow laws and segregation, she thrived and was
21promoted to the flight research division after two weeks; in
221958, after years of pressure, she became the first woman to



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1attend the editorial meetings of the guidance and control
2branch of what was to become the Aerospace Mechanics Division
3of NASA; and
4    WHEREAS, After her husband's death in 1956, Katherine
5Johnson married James A. Johnson in 1959; and
6    WHEREAS, Katherine Johnson's calculations were crucial to
7many important NASA missions; she played a key role when Alan
8Shepard became the first American in space during his 1961
9Mercury mission; John Glenn, the first American to orbit the
10Earth, refused to fly unless she verified the mathematical work
11completed by NASA's digital computers; and
12    WHEREAS, Katherine Johnson calculated trajectories when
13Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the first moon landing in
14July of 1969 and for the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 mission; she
15was also involved in the early years of the space shuttle and
16the Earth Resources satellite; after co-authoring 26
17scientific papers and 33 years of service, she retired from
18NASA in 1986; and
19    WHEREAS, Katherine Johnson was presented with the
20Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in
212015; the BBC included her in its list of the 100 most
22influential women worldwide in 2016; West Virginia State



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1University inaugurated a scholarship in her honor, and she
2received a plethora of honorary degrees and many awards from
3NASA; and
4    WHEREAS, Katherine Johnson's contributions were largely
5unknown to the general public until the 2016 release of the
6Oscar nominated film Hidden Figures, which detailed the work
7she and fellow black female computers Dorothy Vaughn and Mary
8Johnson did for NASA; Katherine was honored with a standing
9ovation while on stage at that year's Academy Awards; and
10    WHEREAS, Katherine Johnson spent her later years
11encouraging students to enter the fields of science,
12engineering, mathematics, and technology; she was a member of
13Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first sorority established by and for
14African-American women, and was a stalwart of the choir at
15Carver Presbyterian Church in Newport for over half a century;
17    WHEREAS, Katherine Johnson was preceded in death by her
18parents, Joylette and Joshua Coleman; her first husband, James
19Goble; her second husband, James A. Johnson; and her daughter,
20Connie; and
21    WHEREAS, Katherine Johnson is survived by her two
22daughters, Joylette and Kathy; her six grandchildren; and her



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111 great-grandchildren; therefore, be it
4we mourn the passing of Katherine Johnson and extend our
5sincere condolences to her family, friends, and all who knew
6and loved her; and be it further
7    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
8presented to the family of Katherine Johnson as an expression
9of our deepest sympathy.