In this memoir, Katherine Johnson shares her personal journey from child prodigy in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia to NASA human computer. In her life after retirement, she served as a beacon of light for her family and community alike. Her story is centered around the basic tenets of her life--no one is better than you, education is paramount, and asking questions can break barriers. The memoir captures the many facets of this unique woman: the curious 'daddy's girl,' pioneering professional, and sage elder. This multidimensional portrait is also the record of a century of racial history that reveals the influential role educators at segregated schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities played in nurturing the dreams of trailblazers like Katherine. The author pays homage to her mentor--the African American professor who inspired her to become a research mathematician despite having his own dream crushed by racism.
The book was written with her daughters Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore and completed by them after Johnson’s death. The memoir offers a more personal perspective on the story first made famous by Margot Lee Shetterley’s book. Johnson discusses some of the disparities between her life and what we saw on screen. Most endearingly, we hear Johnson’s wonderful and often witty voice.
... lovely ... The memoir chronicles Johnson’s childhood in the mountains of West Virginia, her love of learning, her prodigious talent for math and music, and her career as a mathematician. Especially touching are Johnson’s recollections of historical events, such as World War II and the civil rights movement, and her relationships with her family, coworkers, and educators. Readers will enjoy Johnson’s personal accounts of the space race and the roles of Black women in STEM. This wonderful, insightful memoir is the perfect companion piece to Margot Lee Shetterly’s best-selling Hidden Figures, which recounted the lives of Johnson and her colleagues Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.
Lively and with great detail, Johnson tells her story in a way that frames her accomplishments in humble neon, never letting readers forget who she was or what she did, but not bragging on it without giving ample credit to others. The warmth and grace of that is impressive; so is the fact that she admits to having endured racism, patriarchy, and Jim Crow laws but she waves them away like a fly on a June afternoon, as if they weren't even a part of her equation. My Remarkable Journey puts the movie about Johnson into keener perspective, bringing the full story, as Dr. Yvonne Cagle says in her introduction, to a new generation of young women. Find it, share it with your daughter. Or catch it on an audiobook. That counts, too.