Hidden figures is a true story, highlighting the significance of three women in a white male dominated society. The cast also included Mrs Michael, acted by Kirstin Dunst and Mr Stafford acted by our very own Sheldon, Jim Parsons.
The film followed Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who made John Glenn’s Launch in 1962 happen. Without them, the flight would have been unsuccessful.
Society at that time was mostly dominated by white man, especially in maths, science and engineering based jobs. The black women that worked at NASA were treated differently and had separate bathrooms. They were looked down on and treated as less important.
She, Dorothy and Mary were all assigned to certain projects, one of which included Katherine working in the Space Task Group Department. She was greeted with disgust as she walked into an open plan room, full of white men and one white women. Not only did they pile work on her desk, but she worked harder than anyone with no recognition or respect.
Katherine was a very clever child when she was growing up and she amazed all her friends and teachers with her amazing ability to calculate and solve large mathematical equations.
But they needed Katherine and when they were faced with a big mathematical problem, she decided to pick up the chalk and draw it for all to see. She was watched and colleagues awed as they realised that she was right. From then on, her boss Mr Harrison, allowed calculations to put past her so she could check them. Mr Harrison called on her to workout numbers on many occasions and she did it so impressively, that in the Pentagon meeting, the men were stunned by her talent.
She was essential in calculating the landing co-ordinates for John Glenn’s mission, which were wrong on the morning of the launch. Mr Stafford ran to the west campus and asked her to do her thing. Of course Mr Stafford was very weary of Katherine at the start of her assignment and he was reluctant to get her involved. Little did he know that she was actually extremely clever and saved his bacon on the day of the launch. Without her, the mission would have been unsuccessful.
We have not mentioned Mary or Dorothy, but that does not mean that they were less important. Dorothy was an African American mathematician and learnt the ins and outs of the computer programme, IBM. This soon became a very important department in NASA and it provided black women with a new permanent assignment. She supervised them and helped to develop a team of IBM experts, who were essential in maintaining NASA’s ability to solve large numbers of calculations in a second.
Mary wanted a career in engineering and wanted to join the Graduate Engineering Programme. She was disappointed to find out that the programme was only for men and took place in Hampton High School, a segregated school. She appealed in court and won the case. As a result, she was the first black women to graduate and changed the face of engineering.
I was shocked by the way that Katherine, Mary, Dorothy and the black community were treated and the way they were judged and segregated from the more dominant white community. Many women would just lay low and accept their position, but these three women were different. They wanted to challenge society and prove that they were useful after all – in fact prove that they are essential to the success of their white counterparts. They definitely did and rightly so!
I knew that this film would be inspirational, however I could never have imagined the sense of pride that I felt at the end. I’m so glad that since then, we have become more understanding and open to new cultures and ethnicities. Clearly they are essential to technology, engineering, science and things that we can’t live without.
Have you seen the film already? If so, what did you think? I would love to hear your perspective!
As for those of you who haven’t, I would strongly recommend giving up some time to really appreciate their role and importance by seeing this amazing film.
Bye guys 🙂