Born: July 1, 1918 in Hope, Arkansas
Died: February 7, 2000 in Washington D.C.
Bio: Dorothy McFadden Hoover was a pioneer in the field of aeronautical mathematics and research. The granddaughter of slaves, she overcame the significant obstacles facing African American women in the early part of the 20th century to earn advanced degrees in physics and mathematics. One of her greatest achievements in aeronautical research was her contribution to the development of the “thin swept-back tapered wing,” which revolutionized flight.
Her life story was essentially unknown until she was briefly mentioned in the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. Hidden Figures, which was made into a major motion picture in 2016, told the story for the first time of Black women mathematicians, or “computers,” who were key players in the space race.
You can learn more about the life of Dorothy McFadden Hoover at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.