Katherine G. Johnson

Mathematician and computer scientist Katherine Johnson was born on August 26, 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia to Joylette and Joshua Coleman. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a farmer and janitor. From a young age, Johnson enjoyed mathematics and could easily solve mathematical equations. Her father moved Johnson’s family to Institute, West Virginia, which was 125 miles away from the family home so that Johnson and her siblings could attend school. She attended West Virginia State High School and graduated from high school at age fourteen. Johnson received her B.S. degree in French and mathematics in 1932 from West Virginia State University (formerly West Virginia State College). At that time, Dr. W.W. Schiefflin Claytor, the third African American to earn a Ph.D. degree in mathematics, created a special course in analytic geometry specifically for Johnson. In 1940, she attended West Virginia University to obtain a graduate degree. Johnson was one of the first African Americans to enroll in the mathematics program. However, family issues kept her from completing the required courses. Link:

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