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Raye Jean Montague Passes Away

A brilliant woman lauded as the “Arkansas Hidden Figure” has passed. Raye Jean Montague of Pine Bluff, Arkansas died Tuesday at 83.

She like Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson who were the “Hidden Figures” of NASA’s John Glenn launch, excelled in fields of STEM. Montague was an internationally-registered professional engineer and created the first computer-generated rough draft of a U.S. Naval ship.

Montague appeared on “Good Morning America” last year with Janelle Monae to discuss her accomplishments and told host Robin Roberts what it was like to excel despite living in the segregated south.

“I’m known as the first person to design a ship using the computer,” said Montague. And I was the first female program manager of ships in the history of the Navy, which was the equivalent of being a CEO of a company.”

Montague attended the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal School now known as the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, an HBCU. She originally planned to attend the engineering school at the University of Arkansas but they did not accept black people at the time.

In addition to being a trailblazing engineer, Montague was a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first sorority founded by African-American women.

The sorority recognized her passing this week with a special message and sent condolences to her chapter, Beta Pi Omega in Little Rock, Arkansas.

R.I.P. to this Hidden Figure, we send our condolences to her family and friends.

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