Ignorance is not bliss and Mrs. T and I came out of Mayo Clinic after 2 ½ days better informed if not blissful. That took us to our favorite Chinese buffet and a movie. Again after the movie we felt much better informed about an important part of American history. The Space Race, though we didn’t feel blissful about it either…..Hidden Figures is not a blissful kind of film: It’s a story of brilliance, but not of ego. It’s a story of struggle and willpower, but not of individual glory. Set in 1960s Virginia, the film centers on three pioneering African American women whose calculations for NASA were integral to several historic space missions, including John Glenn’s successful orbit of the Earth. These women—Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan—were superlative mathematicians and engineers despite starting their careers in segregation-era America and facing discrimination at home, at school, and at work.
Just the fact that our collective culture highlights virtually zip about this platoon of brilliant, dedicated, overworked, under-appreciated, and until recently, never celebrated African-American women who functioned as NASA’s “living computers” to make it possible for Alan Shepherd, Gus Grissom and John Glenn to become national heroes is as humiliating as it is mind-boggling. This is
especially for those of us who grew up witnessing the birth, trials and eventual triumph of our Gemini and Apollo Space Programs. Yes, Hidden Figures is well worth seeing…..:)