Despite her age, Johnson isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
“I like to learn,” she says. “That’s an art and a science. I’m always interested in learning something new.”
As a young girl she’d stop by the library on her home way in the evening and would pick up a book.
“I finally persuaded them to let me look at two books,” she recalls. “I could have read more than that in one night if they had let me.”
Johnson’s life was the inspiration for a nonfiction book titled Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, which is now being turned into a major motion picture coming due theaters this December. (Empire star Taraji P. Henson will play Johnson.)
Johnson, who was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2015, thinks she was able to succeed because she always loved what she did. It’s one piece of advice she has for young girls today.
“Find out what her dream is,” she says, “and work at it because if you like what you’re doing, you will do well.”
Johnson also taught her daughters a few life lessons.
“Don’t accept failure,” says Joylette Goble, who says she has always been in awe of her mother. “If there is a job to be done, you can do it and do it until you finish.”
She adds: “Be aware of people and help them when you can.”
Johnson’s other daughter, Katherine Goble Moore, says her mother has always been her role model.
“I will always be grateful for her,” she says.