Sidney Lanier Middle School – a Fairfax, Virginia middle school named after a Confederate soldier – has been renamed in honor of African American NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, ABC News reported.
Lanier was a poet and Confederate private.
Johnson was one of four Black women whose work with NASA helped pave the way for the first American astronaut to orbit Earth. Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 from former President Barack Obama, and a Congressional gold medal from former President Donald Trump.
She died February 2020 at the age of 101.
Fairfax City’s school board voted unanimously to rename the school last November.
“Her contributions continued to serve the nation and helped ensure that the ‘Eagle had landed…and landed safely,'” said Jon Buttram, a city school board member. “So, I think it appropriate that the name Katherine Johnson for our middle school will inspire new generations of ‘Eagles’ for our community, and I look forward to watching them fly.”