Banner, Human Computers Project

About the Human Computers at NASA Project

The Human Computers at NASA project is a student/faculty collaborative project at the Macalester College's American Studies Department that seeks to shed light on the buried stories of African American women with math and science degrees who began working at NACA (now NASA) in 1943 in secret, segregated facilities.

The African American women are often referred to as the hidden Human Computers. With their contributions at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, the hidden Human computers paved a path for black women in the fields of STEM. This website is for the general public to learn about the untold story of when African American women were computers. In digging for their stories, The Human Computers at NASA project serves to educate the public about a part of the national history that is absent in our memory of NASA.

The Human Computers at NASA project is a collaboration between Professor Duchess Harris, Margot Lee Shetterly, and their research assistants Lucy Short and Ayaan Natala ‘18. The digital archive was created with the assistance of the Macalester College Library staff: Johan Oberg, Lizzie Hutchins, and Terri Fishel. Additional assistance was provided by Rebecca Wingo, Macalester's 2015-2016 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Liberal Arts.

We invite stories, questions, and feedback.

Funding Sources

Paul Anderson Interdisciplinary Summer Research Fund- Collaborative Summer Research Grant 2014

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Hampton Roads Branch ASALH 2015

ESA Grant- Educating Sustainability Ambassadors (Macalester College) 2015

Mellon Creating Lifelong Learners Summer Research Fund 2015

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship 2016