Blog Post 6

Hidden Figures  is a story of struggle and willpower, but not of individual glory. Set in 1960s Virginia, the film centers on three pioneering African American women whose calculations for NASA were integral to several historic space missions, including John Glenn’s successful orbit of the Earth. These women—Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan—were mathematicians and engineers despite starting their careers in segregation-era America and facing discrimination at home, at school, and at work.

Hidden Figures shows the impact of racism at the international level by highlighting the racial implications of WWII. While the United States fought for equality and freedom abroad, the country demonstrated its hypocrisy by enforcing segregation on its own soil. Hidden Figures takes place against the backdrop of World War II, with Americans (black and white) following with horror the torture and deportation of Jewish people in Europe.

Hidden Figures denounces the contradictions inherent in the Jim Crow laws that kept the NACA segregated in the years during and after WWII. At an international, national and interpersonal level, it shows how racism impacted not only the oppressed but the people in power who were doing the oppressing, requiring the United States and the NACA to act in self-defeating ways that, illogically, worked against their own prosperity and success.

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