top of page

Dorothy Vaughan

Born:  September 20, 1910

Birthplace:   Kansas City, MO

Died:   November 10, 2008

Place of Death:   Hampton, VA

Zodiac Sign:  Virgo

Career and Life

Dorothy Johnson Vaughan was an American mathematician and human computer who worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), and NASA, at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. In 1949, she became acting supervisor of the West Area Computers, the first African-American woman to supervise a group of staff at the center.

She later was promoted officially to the position. During her 28-year career, Vaughan prepared for the introduction of machine computers in the early 1960s by teaching herself and her staff the programming language of Fortran. She later headed the programming section of the Analysis and Computation Division (ACD) at Langley.

Vaughan is one of the women featured in Margot Lee Shetterly's history Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016). It was adapted as a biographical film of the same name, also released in 2016.

In 2019, Vaughan was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously.


bottom of page