The film Hidden Figures is based on the book of the same title by Margot Lee Shetterly. It is a true story.
Hidden Figures is currently in theaters and is one of the most powerful civil rights films I have ever seen. The three main characters’ stories are told in parallel with each other, which is fitting since they are best friends. It is also a story of the power of women in the workplace.
The film opens with all three women stranded on the side of the road on their way to work at NASA. A white police officer sees them and, after questioning them, escorts them the rest of the way.
Once there, the viewer is witness to the discrimination they face, including increased responsibility without the credit, as happens to Dorothy. She eventually gets credit for her work and her title of Supervisor comes to hold its true weight.
Katherine is promoted then assumed to be the janitor and is forced to drink from a separate coffee pot. She has to run all the way across NASA to use the restroom. She finally has her say when her new supervisor asks her why she is away from her desk for such a long time. The segregated restrooms are eliminated and she is eventually allowed into board meetings full of white men.
Mary is asked if she were a white male would she have liked to be an engineer and she very accurately replies, “I would already be one.” She petitions the court and gains access to the classes she needs to become an engineer.
All three women beat the odds and take advantage of the opportunities they have to work twice as hard to obtain. Their work helps put the famous astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
Their story is a triumph for women, especially African American women, everywhere.
I was deeply moved and inspired by Hidden Figures and I look forward to reading the book.