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/