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HIDDEN FIGURES MTI

Summary

Movie Tie-In Edition

Soon to be a film from Fox Studios starring Taraji P. Henson of Empire and Octavia Spencer of The Help

The untold true story of the African-American female mathematicians at NASA who provided the calculations that helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space, told through the personal accounts of four women known as the “colored computers,” set against the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement.

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Drawing on the oral histories of scores of these “computers,” personal recollections, interviews with NASA executives and engineers, archival documents, correspondence, and reporting from the era, Hidden Figures recalls America’s greatest adventure and NASA’s groundbreaking successes through the experiences of five spunky, courageous, intelligent, determined, and patriotic women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine.

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of scientific achievement and technological innovation with the intimate stories of five women whose work forever changed the world—and whose lives show how out of one of America’s most painful histories came one of its proudest moments.

About the Author

Margot Lee Shetterly is a journalist and independent researcher currently developing The Human Computer Project, a collaboration with Macalester College American Studies professor Duchess Harris to create a digital archive of the stories of NASA’s African-American Human Computers. In 2005, she founded Inside México Magazine, which became the most widely distributed English language publication in Mexico. She’s been profiled in the Los Angeles Times and Editor and Publisher, among other publications. She resides in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Mexico City, Mexico.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • History \ United States