February 26, 2023

Hidden Figures


What is Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures is an 2016 biographical comedy-drama film directed by Theodore Melfi from a screenplay co-written with Allison Schroeder, based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, the African American mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon.

Hidden Figures
Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures in Theaters January 6, 2017

Hidden Figures is the incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world.


As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.

The Aerican Dream and the Untod Story of the Black Women

These women were nearly all top graduates of historically black colleges such as Hampton Institute, Virginia State and Wilberforce University. Though they did the same work as the white women hired at the time, they were cloistered away in their own segregated office in the West Area of the Langley campus thus the moniker, the West Computers. The war also opened doors for African-Americans. In 1941, under pressure from labor and civil rights leaders such as A. Phillip Randolph, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, which created the Fair Employment Practices Committee, and prohibited race-based discrimination in the country’s defense industry.

Hidden Figures, about 3 black women at NASA in the 1960s

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect film for the holiday season than Hidden Figures: an inspirational, family-friendly historical drama about three black women whose work at NASA was instrumental in putting John Glenn into orbit around Earth. Hidden Figures blends contemporary conversations about race, gender, diversity in STEM fields, and patriotism in a thought-provoking historical package. And most of all, it boasts three terrific leading ladies.

The Forgotten Black Women Mathematicians

America stood on the brink of a Second World War, the push for aeronautical advancement grew ever greater, spurring an insatiable demand for mathematicians. These women were both ordinary and they were extraordinary, says Margot Lee Shetterly. Her new book Hidden Figures shines light on the inner details of these women’s lives and accomplishments.

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