Photo credit: Benjamin Krain
Little Rock, Arkansas native, Raye Montague has passed away at the age of 83, leaving behind a lasting legacy that forever changed the process of designing Navy ships. As one of the Navy's first Black women engineers, she became internationally registered and successfully revised a computer prototype that produced the first computer-generated design draft for the FFG-7 frigate Navy ship.
In a 2012 interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Montague shared: "I had to run circles around people, but when they found out I really knew what I was talking about they came to respect me."
Montague attended all-Black schools in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and endured countless instances of racism, sexism, and discrimination. In spite of all of these challenges, her countless contributions to the improvement of U.S. Navy processes and progression earned her recognition in 2017 as a "real-life hidden figure."
Montague appeared on Good Morning America in 2017. She was asked to appear on the show around the same time that the box office smash "Hidden Figures" opened in theaters across the United States. The film sparked a lot of interest in identifying other "hidden figures" whose contributions may not have been acknowledged or recognized in their respective industries. The show took the opportunity to interview Montague on her historic contributions to the U.S. Navy and even surprised her with a message from actress Octavia Spencer who portrayed one of the lead roles in "Hidden Figures."
Spencer told Montague, "It is such an honor and privilege to thank you for being a pioneer and trailblazer for women all across the world, I want to let you know that you are no longer hidden. We see you, we salute you and we thank you."
Rest in power Ms. Montague. May your legacy live on and continue to inspire us all.