February 24, 2020

Manchin Statement On The Death Of Katherine Johnson

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today released the following statement on the death of Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson of White Sulphur Springs and a NASA mathematician whose work helped send the first American astronauts into space and to the Moon.

“Gayle and I are terribly saddened to hear of the passing of Katherine Johnson, a stellar mathematician and proud West Virginian and we join all Americans and West Virginians in mourning the loss of an incredible American. A White Sulphur Springs native, Katherine not only completed groundbreaking work at NASA during the space race, but also broke the barriers of race and gender during a critical time in our nation. Katherine graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia State College in 1937 with degrees in mathematics and French, and became the first African-American woman to attend graduate school at West Virginia University. She began her work as a mathematician for NASA, eventually running the equations that sent the first American astronaut to orbit Earth. Because of the accomplishments of intellectual leaders like Katherine Johnson, more young women have, and will, blaze their own trails in science, technology, engineering, and math fields, and will continue to make our state and entire nation proud. We cannot thank Katherine enough for her contributions to our state and our nation. Gayle and I send our deepest condolences to Katherine’s friends and loved ones, especially her daughters Joylette, Katherine, and Constance. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”