Quote

“Mary Jackson could see the air moving around the ever just as clearly as if she were looking at the Schlieren photograph taken in a wind tunnel. Levi’s car was well made; the only adjustment it required between heats was ‘a drop of oil on each wheel bearing.’ Mary and Levi Sr. and four-year-old Carolyn held their breaths as Levi Jr. got into position for the final heat. It seemed like an eternity, but at the end, Mary and Levi Sr. shouted in delight: their son had finished first, saving his best time for the heat that mattered most. Wearing a black-and-white crash helmet and the official race T-shirt, Levi Jr. sailed across the line at a relatively blazing seventeen miles per hour. His family fell upon him in a crush of hugs and celebration. To the inquiring and surprised local reporters who came to hear from the [first black] winner of the Virginia Peninsula Soap Box Derby, Levi Jackson confided the secret of his victory: the slimness of his machine, which has helped to lower wind resistance. What do you want to be when you grow up? the Norfolk Journal and Guide reporter must have asked. ‘I want to be an engineer like my mother,’ Levi said.”

Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures

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