Uncovering ‘Hidden Figures’ at NASA

It seems that our history books tend to leave out many people that have done amazing things for this country, especially people of color. The book Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly unveils the lives of African-American women who were mathematicians at NASA. 

Margot Lee Shetterly 

Image courtesy of

Personally, I had never heard of these women until I saw the commercial for the movie. I was in awe! Black women changing the face of NASA? How could I not have learned about this anywhere? It’s upsetting that we have to find these figures on our own or be exposed to their accomplishments many years later.

This “crew of black women doing the math that would guide those American rockets into space and home again” is something Americans need to know. Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan were the “three African-Americans who helped put a man in orbit in the early days of the space race.” Christine Darden, who arrived later at NASA is not part of the film, but part of Shetterly’s novel. Fighting against American segregation in the 60’s and sexism, Johnson, Jackson, Darden, and Vaughan’s mathematics allowed for space travel in America to take its next step.

Image courtesy of

Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae star in the movie version of Hidden Figures set to release early next year. 


Featured image courtesy of