A virtuous woman

Published 4:09 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I’m struck how Dorothy Vaughan fits the description of the virtuous women detailed in Proverbs 31, a woman whose worth is far above jewels.

There are a variety of things to praise about Vaughan that jump off the page when reading “From Moton to NASA,” the story about her in Friday’s edition of The Herald written by Staff Writer Carson Reeher.

Vaughan, who died in 2008 at the age of 98, was a genius with a low profile until some of her biggest achievements were highlighted in a book by Margot Lee Shetterly entitled “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.” The book has been adapted into the popular feature film, “Hidden Figures.”

Proverbs says the worthy woman “works with her hands in delight” and “opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

Vaughan was a brilliant mathematician, NASA’s first African-American supervisor.

In Farmville, Vaughan taught French and math at Robert Russa Moton High School, and she was a practiced pianist, playing at her church and providing lessons.

Furthermore, the virtuous woman “looks well to the ways of her household,” and indeed, Vaughan was a great mother, raising six children who all went to college and earned degrees.

The Proverbs 31 woman makes clothing, and Vaughan did, as well, for her children.

The chapter of Scripture also says, “Her children rise up and bless her,” and throughout Carson’s story, Vaughan’s daughter Ann Hammond is doing that very thing.

What struck me most about Vaughan is her humility, not wanting any publicity or recognition.

But she is getting it anyway.

As Proverbs 31 closes, it says, “a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”

Titus Mohler is sports editor at The Farmville Herald. His email address is titus.mohler@farmvilleherald.com.