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Hidden Figures: Challenging Stereotypes


Hidden Figures is a phenomenal historical movie that shows how to stand up for racism and how to show your strength in the academic and physical fields. It also shows how woman human computers help to get an astronaut into space.

In the movie, it starts out showing an exceptionally smart girl. Katherine Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson, gets asked to go to college algebra courses. This movie is based off of a non-fiction book, written by Margot Lee Shetterly. The movie, directed by Theodore Melfi, is rated PG. This movie was released in theaters on December 25, 2016.

Johnson goes off to NASA to be a human computer with two other friends: Mary Jackson,  played by Janelle Monae, and Dorothy Vaughan, played Octavia Spencer. Other main characters include Al Harrison, played by Kevin Costner, and John Glenn, played by Glen Powell. These women go off to do great things for NASA such as: help build a huge computer, do amazing algebraic problems, be the first woman engineers, and become the most brilliant brains in the NASA association.

These ladies had a very rough time getting promotions since they were human computers, but when they did get promotions they showed all the people who doubted their skills who’s the smartest. The boss’s assistant went to get someone from the human computers to do algebraic equations. Johnson got this job to see where the astronaut was going to land, how they’re going to lift off with an orbital rotation, and how to get out of orbit. Johnson, the one conducting all these equations, became very familiar with what she had to do and came up with the formula to do so.

Katherine Johnson became the most important person to John Glenn’s flight, Glenn would not take off until Johnson confirmed the calculations from the new computer system. Johnson’s calculations matched those of the computer, except with a higher accuracy. Ensured that the calculations were correct, they launched Glenn who came back successful. During the launch however Glenn’s hot air pocket came open, and so he did what he had to do to become safe again.

One of my favorite parts in this movie is when Mary Jackson is asked to become the first woman engineer, but she had to complete some courses at a high school to become this engineer she was asked to be. So, Jackson went off to make a court date to proceed with her being the first African American to go to an all Caucasian school; this school did not allow African Americans to attend the school at the time. Jackson did this so she could get her high school credits that she needs to be able to go into this field.

Dorothy Vaughan was the technical supervisor of the human computers, but never got the official promotion. Vaughan really wanted this promotion, so when the new computers came in, the gentlemen putting them together weren’t working on getting the other computer up and running. So Vaughan began working on this computer herself, she worked on it until she got the proper numbers coming out of the computer. Vaughan then became the supervisor of the computer department, she brought all her human computers with her to run this system so none of them would lose their jobs because new systems were in.

The movie was a show stopper, it got you up on your feet and had an amazing story line, very unpredictable and well-acted. This movie had some emotional parts, especially since these three amazing women never gave up on what they wanted. I really liked this movie because it showed strong women being the best at what they do and helping make the first astronaut go into space. This would be a great movie for everyone to watch, not only for its historical perspective, but for its themes of leadership and importance.

Story by Kinsey McBride

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