Going deeper than the movie, the book Hidden Figures tells the story of the female mathematicians who helped win the space race and more about the period in which they worked and lived. These human computers used math to calculate the numbers that launched rockets and brought our astronauts safely back to earth. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden are the four main characters – African American women who were dealing with the politics of the day and were some of the ‘hidden figures’ behind the math of NASA and the space missions. These ladies were more accurate than early computers and changed the role of African American women as well as their own lives. Based on real-life events, this book will give understanding to another piece of our American history. A reading group guide is included at the back of the book, great for reading groups! 346 pgs, p/b. ~ Donna
The #1 New York Times bestseller
The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America's greatest achievements in space.
Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America's aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.
Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley's all-black "West Computing" group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.
Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA's greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country's future.