Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, known as the NASA mathematician, physicist, and scientist, used her math genius to guide to and land Apollo 11 on the moon and bring it back to earth (see AfroAmerica Network: Katherine Globe Johnson, Black Woman and NASA Scientist Depicted in Hidden Figures, Dies at 101). As NASA chief Charles Bolden, put it Katherine "advanced Human Rights with a slide rule and a pencil", and the "frontier of human achievement at the same time." Yet, she was only postumously awarded the Hubbard Medal, the National Geographic Society's highest recognition, for her extraordinary contributions in the fields of science and exploration, the same medal as the one the astronauts she helped received 51 years ago.
Despite the delay, the medal is yet another sigh of how much she impacted Humanity and Human Rights, against all odds. At the time of her birth, on August 26, 1918, the odds of reaching the human achievements of her life, were remote at the best, if not impossible. It was the time when women were not encouraged to pursue high degrees or math and sciences. Moreover, Katherine Johnson was a Black woman, born in a segregated America. Yet, she overcame all these odds.