RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- They were called 'human computers' and trailblazing women from North Carolina got the recognition they deserved.
The state dedicated a highway historical marker located outside of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh.
The marker is in honor of the thousands of women mathematicians who made tremendous contributions to the country's space program to get humans in space.
They were called "human computers" because they performed the mathematical calculations necessary to put humans in space and women comprised the majority of these "calculators" or "computers, according to NCDNCR. Their work broke barriers and paved the way for future generations of women scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.
Other honorees included Christine Barnes Richie, a graduate of North Carolina College for Negroes (now N.C. Central University). She arrived at Langley Research Center at a time when the facilities were still segregated. Richie worked alongside Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan, both of "Hidden Figures" fame, to analyze data and plot projections for the country's space program.
Virginia Tucker was among the first five women mathematicians assigned to the newly organized computer pool at Langley Research Center in Virginia in September 1935. During World War II, she led the rapid expansion of the pool by recruiting extensively throughout the South, successfully bringing many fellow North Carolinians into the computing ranks, NCDNCR says.
About 20 women who participated were graduates of Meredith College in Raleigh.
"Human Computers. Women mathematicians, many from N.C., executed complex calculations for U.S. military and NASA, 1941-1975, during WWII and the Space Race."