Hidden Figures – African American Women in Space History

On January 1st, 2016, Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures was published. On January 6th, 2017, the movie by the same name will be released.

It’s a fascinating book about an inspiring group of women, and the movie looks to be just as interesting. I rarely go to see movies like this, but I want to see this one. I want to see strong, intelligent women proving their awesomeness on screen in ways that don’t involve physical ability or sexual appeal.

The fact that these women are African American just makes it even better. I hope this story, in whatever form young African American girls encounter it, inspires them to keep their chins up and own their geek in the most awesome of ways.

A strong, intelligent woman has the potential to be one of the most powerful figures there is. The fact that this book is out there, and this movie will be released soon just makes me smile.

The Book

Hidden Figures.jpg

About Hidden Figures:

Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program—and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now.

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Drawing on the oral histories of scores of these “computers,” personal recollections, interviews with NASA executives and engineers, archival documents, correspondence, and reporting from the era, Hidden Figures recalls America’s greatest adventure and NASA’s groundbreaking successes through the experiences of five spunky, courageous, intelligent, determined, and patriotic women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine.

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of scientific achievement and technological innovation with the intimate stories of five women whose work forever changed the world—and whose lives show how out of one of America’s most painful histories came one of its proudest moments. – Goodreads

The Movie (Trailer):


 

Let me know if you’ve read the book (or movie if you’re reading this sometime after the movie comes out) and what you thought of it!

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