(AP)—“Hidden Figures” tells the true story of three Black women and their work at NASA in the early 1960s. While the movie itself is phenomenal, the real purpose of the movie is to bring attention to the wonderful women and their achievements.
Each woman has a slightly different role at NASA. Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monáe) is a computer specialist, but her real talents lie in engineering. As a Black woman, a job in NASA’s engineering department is unheard of. She soon finds her way to court to argue her case to help beat out Russia in the race to space.
Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson) is a math genius in the computing department. She is placed in the Flight Research Division, where every other worker is a White man. When she finds mistakes in head honcho Paul Stafford’s (Jim Parsons) work, she is finally taken seriously, but remains a second-tier and temporary worker until the end of the film. Because all dramas must have some romance tossed in, the widow’s courtship with a new man is featured.
Dorothy Vaughan (played by Octavia Spencer) is one of the senior workers in the computer department. Even though she gives out assignments to the younger women and does all the other work for her supervisor, she still won’t be promoted. All three women have reached their glass ceilings and are fed-up with their mistreatment.
The film, set in Virginia in 1961, is a necessary reminder of how life used to be less than 60 years ago. The segregation of the nation limited these women and their families from reaching their full potentials. Even at a time when all hands were on deck to beat the Russians, every person wasn’t allowed to give everything they had.