Hidden Figures: Celebrating the Power of Diversity and Perseverance in NASA’s Space Race

Hidden Figures” is a historical drama film that is based on the true story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, three African-American women who made significant contributions to NASA’s space program during the 1960s. Directed by Theodore Melfi, the movie highlights the challenges and discrimination that the women faced as women of color working in a male-dominated and racially segregated workplace.

Despite facing numerous obstacles, the women’s intelligence, perseverance, and determination allowed them to overcome adversity and make valuable contributions to NASA’s success. The movie celebrates their achievements and shows the power of diversity and equality in driving innovation and progress.

The themes of diversity, perseverance, and intelligence presented in “Hidden Figures” are still relevant in today’s world. The movie serves as an inspiration and a reminder that with hard work and determination, it is possible to overcome adversity and achieve personal and professional success.

Background

To fully appreciate the lessons presented in the movie, it is important to understand the story of the African-American women mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race. The movie tells the story of three remarkable women: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who made significant contributions to NASA’s space program during a time of racial discrimination and inequality.

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson worked for NASA from 1953 to 1986. She was born on August 26, 1918, in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Johnson was a gifted mathematician and, during her tenure at NASA, she was known for her precise calculations that were essential for space travel. Johnson passed away on February 24, 2020, at the age of 101. Her legacy continues to inspire people around the world, particularly young girls and women interested in STEM fields.

Dorothy Vaughan

Dorothy Vaughan worked for NASA from 1943 to 1971. She was born on September 20, 1910, in Kansas City, Missouri. Vaughan’s work at NASA involved programming and operating the early IBM computers that were being introduced to the agency in the 1960s. In addition to her technical skills, Vaughan was also an advocate for civil rights and equality in the workplace. She helped to break down barriers for women and people of color at NASA and became the agency’s first African-American supervisor.¬†Vaughan passed away on November 10, 2008, at the age of 98. Her contributions to NASA and her advocacy for civil rights have helped to inspire future generations of women and people of color to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Mary Jackson

Mary Jackson worked for NASA from 1951 to 1985. She was born on April 9, 1921, in Hampton, Virginia. Jackson was known for her exceptional problem-solving skills, and during her time at NASA, she worked on wind tunnel experiments and aerodynamic designs for spacecraft. Jackson retired from NASA in 1985 and passed away on February 11, 2005, at the age of 83. Her contributions to NASA and her advocacy for equality in the workplace continue to inspire future generations of scientists and engineers.

 

The movie depicts key events and characters involved in the early days of NASA, including astronaut John Glenn’s historic flight, which was made possible in part by Katherine Johnson’s calculations. It also explores the challenges faced by African-American women in a workplace dominated by white men.

Diversity in the Workplace

One of the major themes of “Hidden Figures” is diversity in the workplace. The movie portrays the challenges faced by the African-American women in a male-dominated and racially segregated workplace.

For example, in the movie, Katherine Johnson faces discrimination when she is not allowed to use the same bathroom as her white colleagues, forcing her to walk a long distance to use the colored bathroom. Despite these setbacks, the women persevere and find ways to overcome discrimination and contribute to NASA’s success.

The movie shows the power of diversity in driving innovation and progress. The African-American women in the movie bring unique perspectives and skills to NASA’s space program, which allows them to solve problems and make significant contributions that might not have been possible without their presence.

Another key theme in “Hidden Figures” is perseverance and intelligence. The determination and hard work displayed by the women in the movie are remarkable.

For instance, Katherine Johnson’s exceptional intelligence and calculations were crucial in the success of John Glenn’s flight. Dorothy Vaughan taught herself and her colleagues programming languages to work with the IBM computers that were being introduced to NASA, becoming the first African-American supervisor in the process. Mary Jackson, with the help of a supportive judge, fought for the right to attend graduate school and become an engineer, paving the way for future generations.

Overcoming Adversity

The various forms of discrimination faced by the women in the movie are also a major theme. Despite their exceptional intelligence and contributions, they still faced racism and sexism at work and in their personal lives. However, the movie shows how they overcame these obstacles and achieved success. They refused to be defined by their race or gender and instead focused on their abilities and contributions. Their perseverance and resilience are inspiring examples of how to overcome adversity in personal and professional life.

The relevance of the movie’s themes in today’s world cannot be overstated. The importance of promoting diversity and equality in the workplace is more important than ever. The movie shows how diversity drives innovation and progress and how overcoming discrimination can lead to personal and professional success.

Conclusion

Hidden Figures” is an inspiring movie that celebrates the power of diversity, perseverance, and intelligence in achieving personal and professional success. The remarkable stories of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson show that hard work, determination, and exceptional skills are essential to overcoming challenges and making significant contributions to society.

Let’s continue to explore the vast world of movies and TV shows to find inspiration and learn valuable lessons that can be applied to our lives and careers. As we navigate the challenges of our personal and professional lives, we can draw on the lessons presented in “Hidden Figures” to drive our success and make a positive impact on the world. Let’s work together to promote diversity and equality and create a better world for future generations.