Download e-book for kindle: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of by Margot Lee Shetterly

By Margot Lee Shetterly

The no 1 long island instances bestseller

The extraordinary precise tale of the black girl mathematicians at NASA at the vanguard of the feminist and civil rights circulation, whose calculations helped gasoline a few of America’s maximum achievements in space—a robust, revelatory contribution that's as necessary to our realizing of race, discrimination, and fulfillment in glossy the USA as among the realm and Me and The Immortal lifetime of Henrietta Lacks. quickly to be a tremendous movie starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked at the moon, a bunch of committed lady mathematicians often called “human pcs” used pencils, slide principles and including machines to calculate the numbers that may release rockets, and astronauts, into house.

Among those problem-solvers have been a gaggle of quite gifted African American girls, a number of the brightest minds in their new release. initially relegated to educating math within the South’s segregated public colleges, they have been referred to as into carrier throughout the exertions shortages of global battle II, while America’s aeronautics used to be in dire want of someone who had definitely the right stuff. abruptly, those neglected math whizzes had a shot at jobs priceless in their abilities, they usually responded Uncle Sam’s name, relocating to Hampton, Virginia and the interesting, high-energy international of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow legislation required them to be segregated from their white opposite numbers, the ladies of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” team helped the United States in achieving one of many issues it wanted such a lot: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union within the chilly battle, and entire domination of the heavens.

Starting in global struggle II and relocating via to the chilly conflict, the Civil Rights circulate and the distance Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven bills of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, 4 African American ladies who participated in a few of NASA’s maximum successes. It chronicles their careers over approximately 3 a long time they confronted demanding situations, cast alliances and used their mind to alter their very own lives, and their country’s future.


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Extra info for Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Example text

Melvin Butler himself hailed from Portsmouth, just across the bay from Hampton. It required no imagination on his part to guess what some of his fellow Virginians might think of the idea of integrating Negro women into Langley’s offices, the “come-heres” (as the Virginians called the newcomers to the state) and their strange ways be damned. There had always been Negro employees in the lab—janitors, cafeteria workers, mechanic’s assistants, groundskeepers. But opening the door to Negroes who would be professional peers, that was something new.

State law—and Virginia custom—kept him from truly progressive action, but perhaps the promise of a segregated office was just the cover he needed to get the black women in the door, a Trojan horse of segregation opening the door to integration. Whatever his personal feelings on race, one thing was clear: Butler was a Langley man through and through, loyal to the laboratory, to its mission, to its worldview, and to its charge during the war. By nature—and by mandate—he and the rest of the NACA were all about practical solutions.

My dad joined Langley in 1964 as a coop student and retired in 2004 an internationally respected climate scientist. Five of my father’s seven siblings made their bones as engineers or technologists, and some of his best buddies—David Woods, Elijah Kent, Weldon Staton—carved out successful engineering careers at Langley. Our next-door neighbor taught physics at Hampton University. Our church abounded with mathematicians. Supersonics experts held leadership positions in my mother’s sorority, and electrical engineers sat on the board of my parents’ college alumni associations.

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