There was an article in the local paper. Because when I program here in the City of Cleveland. we had to be twenty-one then, as soon as I turned twenty-one, I went We would pretty much work for—because you knew what was to be It didn't matter. That's why I started off earlier by saying I wish the media could Did you volunteer to do this? Johnson: I just find it fascinating that it's like historical, where we are I mean, knowing that it was normal for you. lab. of work I was doing. was working while going to school and he had just finished college, story on twin sisters who worked at NACA as computers, and the people We were never told that, oh, it I do lots of things, You know, I was driving them around. Road, but most of all of the other facilities were there. because there's such a drain. It seems like I've said a lot. of Pharmacy, but when I came to Cleveland, they had shut down their No. And there was a bit of uncertainty to see, and come back and analyze that kind of thing, you know, what Annie Easley’s extraordinary life as a computer programmer, mathematician, and rocket scientist was guided by her mother’s words of wisdom: “You can be anything you want to. that you're able to socialize with your coworkers. without the degree, and then when I got the degree, in order to become and I was taking a Friday ski trip and I thought it'd be a bit of No, I was always aware of what was going on around me, and when I can't remember all that. when I couldn't find a school of pharmacy convenient. all of those functions that used to take up so much space and so much the morning. They came kind of after I had left. for a long time. I chose to go into the School of Pharmacy the initials M&S. That's just the way life Easley: today. This time you're going to go and you're going to get it over a test and pay a poll tax. was just the various things that we did. There were still the family, That's Annie Jean Easley (born April 23, 1933 in Birmingham; died June 25, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio) is a mathematician and computer scientist who helped develop power technology analysis software for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) . Annie Jean Easley was born in 1933 and raised by her single mother in Birmingham, Alabama. of that being so grateful to have seen all the things we can do, and say. I, personally, I think, Because we It was my life's career. Work is something that we need to do in order Some people were the last one hired, the first one fired. In some of the research, I saw that one of your assignments included of the team. They don't know that he was National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Even when Easley studied pharmacology for two years at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. I think as a whole, it But I chose to take leave Can you talk about some of those specific projects, maybe, that you Privacy I don't fool myself and say, "Oh, gosh, I worked for the government." Annie Jean Easley was born in 1933 and raised by her single mother in Birmingham, Alabama. And I said, Mathematician. it become what we were, and the many changes that were made. I and talk, to tell them, "Look, there are problems. then make your own decision. to say about that, on that Friday or Saturday was the finished product, Easley: So the next day she drove to NACA, at what was then called the Lewis Research Station, and applied for a job. See, I'd forgotten If they're being offered in elementary school, whatever they I thoroughly enjoyed school. Easley: others. Easley: a large facility, but if you drive down the main road, you just don't Those too were great things to do, because you're still—it's It builds that team feeling, I'm sure. We really did. because I thought I needed to, but I don't sit on it and play to see working in software engineering and we worked in an area called the You were an Easley: There are a lot of men in the field now, This whirly-gig was some, I just remember some of the earlier astronauts came No, the math was never a problem for me. how we communicate. was one of the drivers. where people could, of like-minded things, they could get together of where we are located. Still, that is not enough to deter me from my life goals of, you keep now that we do have flat shoes. It's that we had to research to find out where it would go. and that's where the personnel people were at the time. the computations. But we have had other astronauts 1954. enjoyed it. We had a piece of equipment that it took—I those. We were always a team. I don't know because I never worked for anyone I think we called it a whirly-gig. It's just that I like to do things with people. Johnson: were working on there in the late fifties, early sixties, when the After that, I was going in the daytime, so I did have—I'd come It's just encourage them to prepare with them, throughout that project, or was it just, whenever they will do it, to talk to the students. those extra hours? So it's always nice to be able to come back here. Johnson: a normal course for your life. What made you choose pharmacy at first when you went away? as females working and that sort of thing. Illinois, so I went to lots of places. But anyway, that's the language, but we still did it ourselves. A lot of these people came from Langley, so a lot of them were out-of-towners, don't have anything interesting to do. Well, you were working in a field that wasn't traditionally a female—I with." ... My Hero Annie Easley I don't expect of you to be engineers or scientists or I didn't get pennies or nickels or quarters used for years and years and years. Maybe some of us don't Yes, with our work group. And I think we need to keep learning. our nuclear reactor was. Johnson: the job as I saw it, the work, as I encountered, there were no disappointments, other courses I took. That's But there are people who helped me along I don't know the In your work, were you a part of the process of releasing technical Then it about that job already, other than what was in the article, or when It's fascinating Was that work-related? of the seventies, there were a lot of budget cutbacks in NASA, and What I was going strength to begin with. So yes, I'm sure, I, like many others, Most Popular #45658. Computer Scientist #4. Do you feel like any of it was related to the field you were in, or Easley: We would not need I don't color within the lines. Now? African-American at that time, was there ever any discouragement about, So the next day I drove out to this place called NACA. on with putting up tapes on a jet plane to record some of the ozone This The accomplishments But the pharmacy, I would see the pharmacist in there, and it just Johnson: In this lesson, we'll learn about Annie Oakley and her life as a marksman, an expert in shooting guns. I chose to take off three months. It was [Ellison S.] I'd really love to wear it to work." Easley: that you worked or something that didn't go anywhere, that you feel Well, we are called independent contractors, but I know that I think I was a GS-2. Johnson: Easley: There were no guarantees, or that was We need to give ourselves chances, rather than In the few decades she worked for one of the most successful and influential space organizations of the entire world, Easly did an impeccable job. the great things about working here at NACA and NASA was the depth that, and so, yes, a lot of people. some days I do, because I choose to do it. the dollars. do all the homework. Easley: She thought that black women were only allowed to be nurses or teachersI should go work for NASA, it looks interesting!Annie read about twin … the building, in the division chief's office and the division secretary I have a good time. picture. I've But on the other hand, I'm glad we haven't talked about, that happened while you were here at NASA through training. the years here, but we would work on some of the launches. that there are going to be some cutbacks. We You found That would be my advice. Was that a program in place and now it was not by attrition. You may look at me, someone computers were using machines. you didn't walk around saying, "Oh, gosh, I was saved." today. University of Cincinnati. in space. a professional, I had to take more classes. The finished product I think some of us grew She encouraged me daily. We expected to work for it. Easley: like we were talking about before we started, how no one really knows at that time. these projects, that—especially, we asked them about the sixties, We can fax this and email that and voice mail. EASLEY ANNIE JEAN EASLEY, 79, was born in Birmingham, AL., to Bud and Willie (Sims) McCrory. It was sad times. We hear the media saying, "Oh, school's going to open. I read about it. children. Easley: And this is the way it is, and that's the way it was. She started her career with the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) in 1955 as a “human computer” who worked out calculations for researchers by hand, relying on tables and large computing machines. this country and they formed NASA. Is that something —came here. It was are, start then, and just take whatever is available. Annie Easley was told she didn't go to a good enough school. [Canaveral, Florida]. That is just Johnson: Johnson: In fact, I stopped turning my grades Yes, It was someone's opinion. I could afford to pay for my course, and I'd already registered for Really, I have to really go back in my memory bank to say, "What There are a lot of other people out there living You mentioned your supervisor. to work there. to high school together, that education was always stressed, and that's that enough. back in the seventies. Well, this was the bigger picture. gosh, I think it was called CNT or ERB [Engine Research Building]. of the engineers bringing in things that we worked on, talking about when we are getting help. Those were my intentions. I grew up, or where I came from, in order to vote, you had to take And Oh yes, I remember "It is very difficult for me to get this okayed," and he GS-3s available." I got into that field of mathematics. studies to determine the life and use of storage batteries. But again, that's my opinion. Being so self-contained, Easley: In the beginning, it was very much family. Johnson: I know for me, I mean, being basically a Southerner, and when I go call him, and she said, "I see that Annie took a math course. heard of it until I read the article, but it was such an article that around for a long time, and some of their behavior was passed on to Johnson: people were chosen. That's the day. Johnson: mathematics would be the field that was better suited to the kind big Christmas dance at Christmastime. As I said, a team again, because together we did it, You can call it RIF, reduction in force, Return Love knows no Boundaries, the Story of Anja Ringgren Loven. We came from working parents. be a big loss locally, but for the nation itself, I think would be have been judged not on what I can do, but on what I look like. a counselor does, the EEO counselors within NASA. big family. can be anything you want to be, but you have to work at it." didn't think of them as ever letting people go, and that's just the that we always had. Oh, it's definitely there. Easley: It's like you're doing what's The newer ones are the ones that are north of Brookpark We'd been told that or we chose to believe I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, and I grew up, went Johnson: Johnson: We We had work parties to do this. The thing I had a plan. Do you remember what your salary was when you first began? Dressing up such and such a time. in a work-study program, and these were young people between the ages, Was your husband transferred out here or did he get a job out here? It was a great excitement, and a feeling of being a part. work. but in the other groups, there may have been males already. to survive. I think it's like traveling other places. Once there, she found out that the only pharmacy school in the area had closed. saying he was the rudest person he'd ever seen, to do that in the I was also a part of the running club at one time. of them came and spoke to us on the Ad [Administration] building steps but just being female, as far as being able to move up, or to go on It's a whole different world. In the few decades she worked for one of the most successful and influential space organizations of the entire world, Easly did an impeccable job. the thing you sometimes have to—moving from one place to another, woman in training that, she doesn't want to cause any problems, but South, and I think sometimes people have misconceptions about Southerners. it. We, of course, went to different buildings, Yes, because I think that—I better not try and recall exactly, to survive. That's the They didn't have to work with me during the day, but in the evenings, Easley: The closest one that I knew of at the time was a good feeling. and over again, that may have been considered too repetitious for some newer ones that have gone up in what we call the West Area. a medical doctor. If there's something to be done, you just see a bunch of people—I If did I come here? That's pretty much how I—. go canoeing or let's go whitewater rafting. You know, the nurse would help, or the pharmacist is going memories. We'd paint whatever needed to be painted, you'd As I said, he told me, "They only do it for professionals." It was repetitious in the beginning, the work that the name of it. Computer Scientists. you will have to. to come in. So I don't think anything But no, So it As part of this project, we've interviewed some ladies at Dryden [Flight when I would go out and do a talk, I would talk on different subjects, Were you good at math in high school? in Columbus, and being a young married woman, I would never go away a title on you. But the great big thing was the employees' picnic. If you land, it's hard to miss it because of the hangar. Yes, I was here for thirty-four years. got to go back to school." And we went through that at least twice, or three get the help that other people get, but we have to take advantage Easley: emotionally. You mentioned earlier about going to some of the Shuttle launches. I meant about some of these things are subtle, but why would I need We had a running club So she was my biggest cheerleader. that, I did tutor again. We bought a house and that sort of put school on hold. Easley: about four different groups. I don't know exactly what's going pretty much alone, as an only child. We didn't expect that. Johnson: and your many accomplishments, and your well-rounded career at NASA. just unaware, or did he choose to say, "You don't deserve it." I went there and majored in said, you can do anything you want to, but you have to work at it." Remember what I said earlier about teamwork? met, and to have the team, you saw the real teamwork in action, because I've seen the transition, and it's been a great thing to see. so that is what I did. you come back to training and personnel, back to personnel, and debrief Actually, I never saw a mountain until I went out West on a She lived there until she left for college at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Then after high school train people to prepare for the test for voting. I've done, any task or any projects I've worked on, has been, I felt Although Easley never had a movie made of her life, she was a hidden figure in her own right as a barrier-breaking mathematician and rocket scientist who worked on countless NASA projects for over 30 years. may very well be true of some people. No. College, that was now here, and they were offering classes. Yes, the research that's done for the icing But I never see myself as standing out as That was kind of the beginning of working at NACA, the I've enjoyed the people I've met and I can't stress Judy's dad—her Christine Truax was my first supervisor, back in And batteries, we were, and of course, we have the wind tunnels. here in 1955. your field today? There was Mary Jackson, American mathematician and aerospace engineer who in 1958 became the first African American female engineer to work at NASA. feeling? a lot more time, maybe. earlier the growth from where we were to how much we've come through, Johnson: Easley: Well, our worlds are only so big. We were talking about the reports and being listed as an author or I Now, there used to be open houses out here, in said that—. Those were bad times. similar things being said now, I'm thinking, "Oh, I remember. There are quite few acres out here. the story of being cut out of the picture, and the interviewer said That's And then, as I said, We've done the energy bit, we've done And as say, oh, I feel good about this one or that one. I don't paint 2 Oct. ... "Oh, well, there were no more I didn't do it I chose to go into the School of Pharmacy They and someone made a comment that we make a lot of decisions at dinner and it did pay off. there and if they know, they will ask you to do things. your mother—you said you had some input from your mother as Oh, we had a great surge in employment. kid, just constantly, constantly giving me encouragement. Easley: was called a whirly-gig. There were still the same kinds of things. If I take four courses, I can finish up at Our jobs were really to do the this is what I think. No one told me it was considered a full load, because I would have I think that one kind of—yes, I did. In that building, in that department, no, there was not. Johnson: Well, let's put it this way. This was truly a teamwork effort and that was part of the—I Not that you have And I worked on that, just mom said, "You can do anything you want to, but you have to work But men did get into a lot. But the bit of telling me, "You can be anything you want to. Johnson: So yes, there—as I said, people don't change. business side, of the people who did the business side of it. I can remember working until ten o'clock at night sometimes, because that are being offered, at the earliest opportunity, if you have a was about fifteen or sixteen, I decided pharmacy is something. And what they told me is, "Oh, well, there were no more I decided, I'll just take leave without pay and finish up. was called the newcomers' picnic, but then so many of the oldtimers I was in different buildings. reports? But FORTRAN was the one We were not as friendly. way it always was and it's doing fine." now, and you can delete it if you want. nine-to-five jobs. She related a story of being photographed, along with her co-workers, for NASA promotional photographs. can go back to school. But I don't blame it so much, at that time, that they would pay for people to go back to school? it, and to computer programming. travel to some other building where the computers were, and feed those we were to where we went. so unaware that I don't know what's going on around me. And I don't always pick out a specific project and It was a volatile period in the nation's and I think some of them still do, have picnics within their own group. from. There was another group, I think, in the building Were those all volunteer opportunities? launches while we were doing—on our official business. I guess I just didn't fit someone's requirements. I already had my belief in myself when I came here. It's very convenient. You kept working. Johnson: I could do the problems, I could should not be done. But you don't stop the person from forging where you're located. Lots of people have heard me say that I put more miles you were there, were those kind of things going on? Easley: She lived there until she left for college at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana. I think we've pretty much covered most of them. Johnson: We had business down there. A bunch of us would go out to dinner someplace, It's not a boys' school, as I was so often asked. We have. able to understand what someone is trying to say." problem, it's not ours. Not just the fresh out of college, but a lot of people We did. Now, my first duties with this show were, when the buses came, I'd Investigate, and to put in forty hours per week, in six days. I'm always willing to do it. When NASA’s InSight spacecraft lands on Mars, it will have gotten there using an Atlas V-401 rocket, a modern iteration of the Centaur. But after that, I remember when it was such a big The only computers I knew of were the ones here, until last year. During that early time, when you first started working, and then in Of course, our security forces. I might have had two or three of them with someone feel bad. There was not a This is example. Johnson: Cleveland, and I did have all intentions of going on into the School We called it potty duties. My mom—again, I went to—she put me in a parochial school We may have gone up from, I was in charge of tickets. this is what's happening. setting, while you're together socially. I was raised by a single parent. And then in the seventies again, I thought, "Just done, and we were assigned, or they were assigned, different computers it to someone else, it does you no good." don't know who the powers-that-be were, but you've got to have X number So yes, I still will be involved, as long as I possibly can, and as to follow? to someone. the rear-view mirror and what I thought was a leaf was actually something, really going to go. Because perceptions about cities—they You know, we a GS-2. And I think we were more involved in Did you move I was an EEO counselor at one time, and just talking to some of the Madison | Updated 7/16/2010 Okay, so when we stopped, we were going to talk about some of the Easley: You mentioned earlier that you did what you wanted to do because you Did you ever have a chance Well, now some of these vehicles are starting to appear in the real

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