A Glimpse of Hidden Figures

The commercials have been all over the place and I can hardly turn on the television without seeing an ad for this film:

Hidden Figures

I have to admit, I knew little about this story, or should I say stories.

These three women were an integral part of history.

The Women

Hidden Figures | AprilNoelle.comKatherine Johnson – the brains behind getting many men into space, including the flight of the first man in space, John Glenn. Glenn’s confidence in her mathematical ability forced NASA to request Katherine’s verification of the trajectory before his launch.

Dorothy Vaughan – the first Black supervisor at NACA (predecessor to NASA) to a group of African-American female mathematicians. She learned to operate the first IBM machine at NACA to ensure that she had a position once they computerized the department.

Mary Jackson – after going to court to be able to get the required education, she became the first female black engineer at NASA.

Did you know any of that?

Not during one of my history classes, even during Black History Month, did we cover these women.

The movie was well-written, well-directed and well-acted.

The Story Continues

One thing bothered me, though. This issue has nothing to do with Hidden Figures, the movie, directly. Sadly, it was the laughter that ensued when there were some racist statements were made.

Granted, I think some of it was nervous laughter, but something about it made me uncomfortable.

Not living in the 50s, most of the audience never had to be on either side of the “whites only” and “coloreds only” argument.

I’m not blaming anyone, I laughed too. But as I get older and I see my children, knowing that there are plenty of places where this behavior has not changed.

True, most people aren’t racist. But it exists.

There’s a line, another one that caused a few chuckles (paraphrased):

White woman: “You know I don’t have anything against you.”

Black woman: “I know. I know you believe that.”

That line made me tear up because it still happens today.

How many more black children would have gotten into programming if Hidden Figures were revealed 20 or 30 years ago? How much more progress would have been made if we told the entire history of our country, the Chinese, Latino, Jamaican, etc.? What if we truly integrated our schools and our education?

That said, I’m not sure of the purpose of this post. These were just my initial thoughts.

Either way, GO SEE THE MOVIE! It’s an extremely well-done film covering some pioneers in our history.


44 thoughts on “A Glimpse of Hidden Figures”

  1. Oh I’ve not heard of this one and will def be going to see it. I love all of these movies and really do think everyone should see them. So many black women are written over and dismissed but we wouldn’t be where we are or who we are today without them.

  2. I saw the movie 2 month ago and it an amazing film. Oh my gosh such a great story that is true I am so upset it took this movie for it to be recognizable in mainstream history. I felt cheated but glad the story is now told. All 3 women did a really wonderful job!

  3. Reesa Lewandowski

    I cannot believe before this movie, I had no idea about this amazing story! I am really looking forward to going to see it in the theaters!

  4. I’m really interested to see their story on the big screen. Movies usually focus on the astronaut perspective so this should be a nice change of pace.

  5. I am very excited to see Hidden Figures, as are my kids. I love that it is based on actual events and that at least one of these remarkable women are still alive.

  6. I am so excited to go see this movie. It so important for everyone to know about these women that had such a big role to play in the space race.

  7. I’ve been thinking about seeing this one. I’ve heard so many good things about it and it’s also perfect for raising awareness. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts about the movie!

  8. I was not aware of this film. I had no idea of the prominence of these women.

    I do understand what you are saying…I have been reading a book on false thoughts believed to be true because the subconscious process through the years makes it so in most, if not all, people.

  9. I saw an episode of Timeless on NBC that dealt with her as well. I thought it was a real coincidence that less than a week after that episode aired that there was an advertisement for this movie.

  10. I’ve heard a lot about this lately but haven’t really paid much attention, it sounds great though and I REALLY want to check it out now!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this review! I haven’t seen the movie yet and after reading your review I now know that it needs to be on my must-see list and that I need to take my teen with me!

  12. My niece picked up the book a few months back saying she wanted to read it before the movie came out.I wish I had gotten to it myself, but I’m so excited about seeing the film and learning their story.

  13. I have been hearing a lot of praises and commercial about this movie on Spotify. I don’t have cable so the only way I hear about things is through Facebook, streaming music outlets or blogs. I really want to see this movie.

  14. I wish we would have these shows and movies and watch them for what the characters bring, not for what they are. That said, since I’ve been hearing aa lot about this, I’m always interested in women challenging themselves and I’m looking out for this.

  15. I’ve heard a lot about this lately and really need to see it. It saddens me that racism still exists, so I think I would find this film very emotional and thought provoking.

  16. I’ll have to see this movie. I love Octavia Spencer. The story sounds very inspiring, and I’m very surprised (and saddened) we haven’t heard about these women’s stories before this movie.

  17. I haven’t heard of this movie but it sounds interesting. Living in South Africa, racist issues still come up every now and then even though apartheid officially ended a long time ago.

  18. I’m definitely eager to go see this movie! I think it has a great message and it’s so important to keep bringing these kinds of issues (in history and in the present) to the forefront!

  19. The movie was fabulous & having jumped into programming in the early ’70s, women were just supposed to be keypunch operators (digital secretaries). I too caught the black woman’s response & felt … you go girl, you’re right to say “I know. I know you believe that.”

    Dorothy was a genius to figure out programming was the future, to teach herself & then teach all the other Nasa programmers Fortran.

  20. I’ve always been interested in this movie, thanks for sharing details about it. You’re right, if that was shown earlier it would have inspired a lot more young women to study the field and excel in it as well.

  21. I still have this on my list of Must See Movies. I’ve actually waited on purpose because I love to do my research beforehand with historical movies. I am so excited to see how close to the true history the movie is and to see lives of these amazing women brogue to the bigs screen! l

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