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#OffScriptOn9: Congressman John Lewis reflects on MLK’s legacy

Jae Alan

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History & Culture

Little-Known Black History Facts: This Black Woman Helped Develop GPS Technology

Jae Alan

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Gladys West never knew that her work at a U.S. Navy base in Virginia back in the 1950s and ’60s would play a pivotal role in creating a popular form of technology that is now incorporated into cell phones, cars, and social media.

For 42 years, the 87-year-old mathematician worked with a team of engineers that developed the Geographical Positioning System, or GPS, before retiring in 1998. West’s sorority sister, Gwen James, recently discovered the contributions that West made in GPS technology and wanted to share the news with The Associated Press.

“Her story is amazing,” said James, a fellow member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, to The AP. “GPS has changed the lives of everyone forever. There is not a segment of this global society—military, auto industry, cell phone industry, social media, parents, NASA, etc.—that does not utilize the Global Positioning System.”

After graduating from Virginia State University on a full academic scholarship, West began working as a math teacher for two years in Sussex County before obtaining her master’s degree. She then became the second black woman to join the Dahlgren, Virginia, naval base in 1956, where she was one of‌ only four black employees. During her stint, she collected location data from orbiting machines and input the data into giant supercomputers, while using early computer software to analyze surface elevations. She worked long days and nights recording satellite locations and on complex calculations. Although the work was tedious, West told The AP that she “was ecstatic” about the opportunity “to work with some of the greatest scientists.”

Read full story @ Black Enterprise

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History & Culture

Portraits of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled

Jae Alan

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The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. on Tuesday unveiled the portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama painted by black artists.

Kehinde Wiley of Brooklyn, N.Y., painted President Obama and Amy Sherald of Baltimore painted Michelle Obama.

Wiley and Sherald are the first black artists commissioned by the Smithsonian to paint the portraits of a former President and First Lady.

@ Northstar Today

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History & Culture

102 y/o Dancer Sees Herself on Film for the First Time

Jae Alan

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