Hidden No More!

Hampton City Council Names New Neighborhood Center

for Mary Jackson, NASA Trailblazer and Hampton Native

Petition drive by Steelworkers Pays Off

On March 14, 2018, the Hampton City Council voted unanimously to name a new neighborhood center (yet to be built) for hometown hero and NASA trailblazer Mary Jackson. United Steelworkers Local 8888 launched a petition drive in March 2017 to have the city take the necessary steps to name a street or public park for Jackson, who died in 2005. As the first African American female engineer at NASA, she was one of the three black women portrayed as trailblazers in the 2016 hit movie, “Hidden Figures.” The new Mary Jackson center will replace the original Olde Hampton Neighborhood Center, which was closed in 2015 because it was in poor condition.

USW Local 8888, which represents 9,700 hourly workers at Newport News Shipbuilding, collected 2,500 signatures on its petitions and presented them to Mayor Donnie Tuck and the City Council on June 28, 2017. Charles Spivey, president of USW Local 8888, who witnessed the historic vote with members of Mary Jackson’s family, issued the following statement:

 “Last night the Hampton City Council made a dream come true: A new neighborhood center will have Mary Jackson’s name on it – in her hometown. Even the good people in Wakanda are celebrating this great honor for Ms. Jackson!

"This is also a moment of great pride for Local 8888. Naming a public center for an iconic trailblazer like Mary Jackson is a legacy-defining accomplishment for our union, which is celebrating our 40th anniversary this year. When we launched our petition campaign a year ago to have a street or public park in Hampton named for Mary Jackson, we were blown away by the intense and positive response we got in the shipyard and in the community. So, the 2,500 signatures we collected makes this outcome a collective celebration.

"A community facility named for such an outstanding African American woman is wonderful. But I believe it is the long-term impact the center will have on the neighborhood that brings the greatest joy to Mary Jackson’s family.

"Finally, it is fitting that our journey to honor Mary Jackson reached its destination at City Hall. I cannot think of a better way to acknowledge Women’s History Month than to celebrate the new Mary Winston Jackson Neighborhood Center. Now she is hidden no longer in her hometown. Hallelujah! “

The best way for you to stay on top of breaking news regarding contract negotiations is to sign up for mobile text alerts sent by Local 8888. Just send a text message to 47486. Enter LU8888. Hit send. That’s it. You’ll receive the next bargaining update on your phone – and you can share it with other members. Stay connected! Get the facts.

After a long and trailblazing career in the male-dominated NASA space agency, Mary Jackson called it quits.

For a week.

She told her daughter, Carolyn Lewis, “I can’t do this. I can’t just sit around and watch shows (soap operas) all day. I’ve got to work.”