Utah School Drops Andrew Jackson To Honor NASA’s First Black Female Engineer

Henry Rodgers | Capitol Hill Reporter

A Utah school named after former President Andrew Jackson is changing its name to honor the first black female NASA engineer.

Jackson Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah will be changed to Mary W. Jackson Elementary School after an overwhelming majority vote by the school districts Board of Education Tuesday night, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. The name change comes as schools across the U.S. have been criticized for being named after historical figures who people believe are racist or contentious.

School principal Jana Edward claims the school name was changed because Mary Jackson graduated college and Andrew Jackson did not. She believes the name change will help show that her school is focused on getting her students into college.

“We are now recognized as the only school named after a (black) woman in Salt Lake District. We also wanted to be very cognizant we are a college-going culture. She had a college degree where President Andrew Jackson did not,” Edward told the Deseret News. “Also it means we get to recognize a black woman who became the first black female NASA engineer.”

In 1958, Mary Jackson became NASA’s first black female engineer. The engineer was honored in the book “Hidden Figures,” about black women who helped advance the space race. The book was also made into a movie in 2016.

President Donald Trump has often expressed his praise for Andrew Jackson, even hanging a portrait of Old Hickory in the Oval Office.

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