620 Engineering

Completed: January 2018

Classification: 629.408

Title: Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race

Author: Margot Lee Shetterly

“Set amid the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program.

Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as ‘Human Computers’, calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women.

Segregated from their white counterparts, these ‘colored computers’ used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of mankind’s greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world.”

Mini Review: Following the lives of some of the most inspirational and intelligent women who go on to become the founding members of NASA. The movie ‘Hidden Figures’ is based on this book, which is rich in detail and builds on the story of black women making progress in what was so often seen as a white mans world. It follows a few of the women who first worked as ‘computers’ and later became such necessary members of the teams behind the first man on the moon. A must read for anyone interested in the history of the space race, sexism and the civil rights movement.


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