Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
Hidden Figures The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race Author:Margot Lee Shetterly The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America?s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner. Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the m... more »oon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as ?human computers? used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South?s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America?s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam?s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Even as Virginia?s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley?s all-black ?West Computing? group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens. Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA?s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country?s future. « less
Very good book, very interesting. Compared to the movie, there is much more background on the day-to-day racism they experienced outside of Langley and much more detail about their work and others they interacted with.
Marcia C. reviewed Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race on + 387 more book reviews
Wow, this book is so well written and engaging that I want to tell all my women friends to read it. The social background about opportunities, limits and social life for African Americans in the South in the 1930s, 1940s and later is superbly presented. I did not see the movie, but it's clear why producers thought it would make a compelling drama. Highly recommended for anyone interested in women's place in society and in the history of civil rights in America.