I have seen Hidden Figures four times. Peanut has seen it twice.
In case you haven’t heard of it, Hidden Figures is the story of three Black women: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson- three brilliant women who worked at NASA during its beginnings -in the height of the Space Race between the United States and the USSR.
I get something different each time that I watch the movie.
What drew me in was the story itself. All of us learned about the Space Race when we were in school. Yet, this history – their participation, and the EXISTENCE of these women was complete erased from history – until now. I guess my continued fascination goes hand in hand with that. I consider myself educated. Not only in books, but I grew up in a house where my parents supplied me with Black History that was never taught in school. And, I’m still mad. Mad that I went through grammar school, high school, college AND graduate school, and I had no idea that these women existed.
When Bletchley Circle came out a few years ago on PBS, I looked them up and was fascinated by British female codebreakers.
But, the thought that there were Black women, called Human Computers, that had been in existence by the then War Department during WWII, and beyond?
These women were brilliant in a time where to be brilliant and a woman was to be ignored. To be brilliant and Black was to be ignored. So, to be Black and Woman during this time. Fighting to just prove that yes, we belong here, I am in awe of these women. The daily fights that they had to go through, just to do their job. A job where someone else almost always put THEIR name onto THESE WOMEN’S WORK AND TOOK CREDIT FOR IT.
And, they did it for less pay – both as a woman, and a Black.
I don’t want to give any spoilers out, because, I think that you will enjoy this movie with your entire family.
I do realize my favorite scene in the movie.
This image of Octavia Spencer’s character Dorothy Vaughan, leading her girls from the segregated outpost where they were relegated to….to the main building makes me tear up each time. Dorothy Vaughan could anticipate the future, and how she had to stay ahead of the game. But, she didn’t think in terms of ‘me’….she thought in terms of ‘ US’- and lifted them all as they went forward into the future.
Each of these women were remarkable, and they didn’t shy away from the obstacles placed in their path. They found a way to plow them down.
I’m so happy that this movie, and the book were done. Get the book for your personal library. Take your family. Take the youth-so that they can see that our place is EVERYWHERE….and, that it’s always been EVERYWHERE. There is no part of the American story where BLACK PEOPLE HAVE NOT CONTRIBUTED.