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“Hidden Figures” Shares Unknown History

Alex Green, Staff

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The new movie Hidden Figures is about one of America’s greatest accomplishments, as well as African- American women fighting against work inequality and segregation. During the time period known as the Space Race, America competed with Russia to be the first country to send a human into space.

The American people looked to NASA’s hard working employees to achieve the impossible. Three of NASA’s intelligent “Human Computers” became a huge part of NASA’s success. These three mathematicians quickly gained the respect of their male colleagues.  On February, 20th, 1962 John Glenn was sent into orbit on a ship called Friendship 7 and  created American history. The film captures the hard work and dedication of people who pushed to achieve the possible.

Vaughan (Octavia Spencer)  is an ambitious, determined woman who stands up for what she believes is right; she saves dozens of jobs by stepping up as a leader and taking matters into her own hands. Her co-worker Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) is a highly-educated woman who is very lively and precocious. With a degree in mathematics, she is hired by NASA for her ability to solve advanced math equations very quickly.  Jackson (Janelle Monae) is another character who was inventive and straightforward, aspiring big to become an aerospace engineer. She became NASA’s first African American female engineer. These actresses portray the characteristics and passions of these characters very well.

The storyline of this movie is historically accurate, sticking to the true lives of the people who were actually present. For example, in the movie John Glenn was dependent on Johnson’s calculations; he wouldn’t launch until he got her approval. Glenn actually waited for Katherine Johnson’s calculations before launch according to those who were around at the time. The movie also showed the hardships that African American people faced in the 60’s; for example, colored people couldn’t use certain bathrooms. Johnson was the only colored person to work in that building, so she had to walk a mile-and-a-half to the nearest colored bathroom.

Set in the 1960’s, the movie and its director strive for authenticity. The director uses old-fashioned cars and interior decorating that would have been popular during the time. He also dresses the characters in period clothing popular during the time like plaid, knee-length skirts. The set was very identical to NASA’s building; the work room set was a replica at a studio in Atlanta. The NASA building and the neighborhood that were used were realistic replicates as well.

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“Hidden Figures” Shares Unknown History