Google+

NASA Docudrama Belatedly Credits Contributions of Unsung African-American Mathematicians

 

Hidden Figures,  Film Review, by Kam Williams, NASA, female mathematicians, brilliant black womenHidden Figures

Film Review by Kam Williams

NASA Docudrama Belatedly Credits Contributions of Unsung African-American Mathematicians

All of the astronauts picked by NASA to participate in its maiden manned space programs, Mercury and Gemini, were white males. However, behind the scenes, there was a dedicated team of African-American, female mathematicians who played a pivotal role in ensuring that they launched and returned safely, whether from orbiting the Earth or a mission to the moon. 

  Equipped only with pencils and slide rules, these so-called “human computers” were among the best and the brightest minds recruited by NASA to do the critical calculations needed to win the space race with Russia. Author Margot Lee Shetterly gave these unsung heroines their due in “Hidden Figures,” a best seller belatedly crediting their quantitative contributions to the cause.

Besides chronicling their considerable accomplishments, the book also recounted the indignities these brilliant black women simultaneously suffered, simply because they had the misfortune to be living in Virginia during the dark days of Jim Crow. Back then, African-American brainiacs employed by NASA were automatically assigned to work in its segregated West Computing Group.

Hidden Figures,  Film Review, by Kam Williams, NASA, female mathematicians, brilliant black women

Directed by Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent), the overlooked icons’ story has now been adapted to the big screen as an uplifting, overcoming-the-odds docudrama. The picture recounts the trials and tribulations of three members of the unit Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer ) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae).

We are flies on the wall when, without complaining, Katherine routinely has to run to a distant “Colored” ladies room despite the presence of one for whites right nearby. On another occasion, we witness Mary’s frustration in furthering her education on account of the fact that blacks aren’t allowed to matriculate at the local college offering the courses she needs.

Hidden Figures,  Film Review, by Kam Williams, NASA, female mathematicians, brilliant black women

By film’s end, both the bathroom and school are indeed integrated, albeit after an emotional intervention by NASA administrator Al Harrison (Kevin Costner). A worthwhile, teachable moment correcting a shameful chapter in American history.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG for mature themes and mild epithets

Running time: 127 minutes

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Source:  Baret News

Entertainment

Top Ten DVD List for March 28, 2017

  This Week’s DVD Releases by Kam Williams Top Ten DVD List for March 28, 2017 20th Century Women https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01MRA563W/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01LTHOAGM/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 A Monster … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

  The President's Kitchen Cabinet The Story of the African-Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas by Adrian Miller University of North Carolina Press Hardcover, $30.00 292 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-1-4696-3253-7 Book Review by Kam Williams “[This opus] vividly tells the stories of the … [Read More its Good For You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

2017 Hobbies That Bring You Serenity

  2017 Hobbies That Bring You Serenity by Amy Lignor   Origami. Memory albums. Quilting. What do these have in common? Well, at one point or another in time, they have represented the “hottest” hobbies in the United States. Taking up hobbies are not only a fun thing to do for the “artistic/creative” type, but they also help to reduce … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Whitetail Hunting in Illinois is About Making Memories in the Heartland

  Whitetail Hunting in Illinois is About Making Memories in the Heartland   Whitetail hunting is the most popular area of the hunting universe in this day and age. When it comes to the great state of Illinois, there is one guide that is all about making your trip not only a success, but one of the most memorable experiences you can … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

Gonzaga Celebrates the Final Four

  Gonzaga Celebrates the Final Four by Amy Lignor   “Beauty & the Beast” may be raking in the dough at movie theatres everywhere, but it is the Princess Cinderella that appears at the core of the NCAA headlines. We all have our “Cinderella Teams.” Heck, they even made a movie after the Hoosiers who once set the world on fire. But as this … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

  The President's Kitchen Cabinet The Story of the African-Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas by Adrian Miller University of North Carolina Press Hardcover, $30.00 292 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-1-4696-3253-7 Book Review by Kam Williams “[This opus] vividly tells the stories of the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Where to Vacation? Go Big or Stay Home!

  Where to Vacation? Go Big or Stay Home! by Amy Lignor We speak about luxury vacations, budget vacations, vacations that are fun for the kids, and many more areas of travel at this time of year. But there is also a category that many do not touch upon because they “assume” it is far too difficult for those on a budget to be able to enjoy … [Read More its Good for You...]