First Lady’s Blog: February 2017

Hidden Figures by Theodore Melfi

Every African-American girl, young and old, needs to go see the movie, Hidden Figures! Frankly, everyone needs to see it so the truth can finally be revealed. This story needs to be added to the annals of history. It was one of the most awe-inspiring movies I have seen in a long time. Hidden Figures is an American biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi, and written by Melfi and Allison Schroeder, based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson, the African-American mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury. The film also features Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson, with Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell and Mahershala Ali in supporting roles. Hidden Figures is based on the true story of three African-American women who were very instrumental in putting the first American up in space. These heroines went overlooked for several years, but thanks to Shetterly, Melfi and others, Hollywood now celebrates these heroines on the big screen. You will be endeared to the three actresses who portray Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary. They are funny, witty and extremely intelligent. These women were able to penetrate a glass ceiling in the 1960’s in an organization, dominated by white males. Through much hardships and hard-work they achieved some quite substantial positions in the segregated south. These women were essentially human computers before there were computers. They calculated mathematical formulas that boggled the mind. Throughout the movie, the audience explores the hardships these women faced while working at the NASA Langley campus, made even more significant since Virginia was one of the last states to desegregate. The character Dorothy is consistently denied a supervisory position until she makes herself indispensable to the organization. Mary is an engineer who encounters her own struggles while working at NASA in the early 60’s. You’ll enjoy following her struggles and triumphs throughout the movie. Compared to the other two women, Mary is probably the most aggressive. Without a doubt, this movie is certainly worth watching. It celebrates the accomplishments of these little known African-American heroines of the NASA space mission who were able to overcome several struggles and difficulties and achieve great feats in American history.

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