Hidden Figures

Yesterday, B, E, T, and I went to see the film Hidden Figures. We all loved it.

Hidden Figures is based on the story of a group of African-American women who were “computers” in the early days of the US  space program. That is computers, as in those who carry out mathematical computations.

As sometimes happens, there are some connections between aspects of the film and our area and family. B, early in his career, worked for Link Flight Simulation, which made simulators for NASA. He then went to work for IBM, which, like Link, was founded in our area. IBM plays a role in the film, with a 1961 computer filling a large room. IBM used to have a museum in Endicott which had components from that era, as well as equipment, such as time clocks from IBM’s early years.

The film shows the rampant sexism and racism that the women faced in segregated Virginia. It was sobering for B and me, being reminded that this was happening in our lifetime, although we were only toddlers at the time and living in rural New England, which was neither segregated nor diverse at the time.

It was also sobering for all of us to realize that, as far as our country has come on matters of race and sex, there is still quite a distance to go to reach real equality and equity.

The long and fruitful careers of the main characters in the film are encouraging to all the younger women who follow, despite the obstacles that they still face. Thank you to everyone involved in making the film for bringing this important story to all of us.
*****
Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2017/01/15/jusjojan-daily-prompt-jan-15th17/

 

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Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

11 thoughts on “Hidden Figures”

      1. Since we unschool, my kids have come to most if not all of their history through stories, news, and actual travel. Their understanding of how things connect to each other is a lot stronger and more evolved than mine was at their ages.

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  1. I just saw “Hidden Figures” last night and my personal connections intensified the experience for me as well. My father was an engineer who worked for a NASA contractor. My mother was a mathematician (only because she had been prevented from being an engineer) and worked on computers in the early 50’s – no Fortran, just 1’s and 0’s. And finally, 20 years after the movie, I was the first female engineer in my department at IBM. Knowing the frustrations and humiliations my mother and I experienced as white females, I am in awe of the courage, strength, and genius of the films main characters in navigating the white, male culture of NASA!

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    1. Thanks so much, Vicky, for sharing your and your family’s stories with us! My husband has worked with a number of women on technical and management tracks, although most of his colleagues are still men. There is still a lot of progress to be made.

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  2. Great post thank you. This film achieves what any bio-pic drama can hope for: it offers feel-good entertainment while informing about a remarkable episode in history. Its also part of a wider cultural adjustment to the historical record which is mostly written by men for men. It will take decades to correct the chronicles and show the role of women in its correct light.

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