“The Space Race helped to break-down American segregation laws, which helped get Man into Space”
This true story Hidden Figures is about the African American’s who were the background staff that actually helped in the Space Race of the 1960’s between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or better known today as the Russian Federation.
The American segregation laws that had existed were suppressive policies to prevent African-American’s from gaining in the American dream.
While most people can look beyond race, culture, creed and religion the American segregation laws were very useful to repress African-Americans in American society, especially when it came to the military and later on in the Space Race during the ‘60’s.
However a handful of African-Americans who were lucky enough to go to university and get a decent education were allowed to join the American Space Agency better known as The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Hidden Figures centres on a handful of African-American young women who were mathematicians and scientists that checked and double checked figures and data in America’s quest to get a rocket into Orbit and then later on to be the first country to land on the Moon.
As the film moves on and things get settled we see Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) who was the Director of the Space Task Group, who oversaw the development of getting American rockets into space.
The film depicts Al Harrison to be a man that doesn’t necessarily care who delivers the goods, just as long as the goods are delivered, hence his small but significant step in breaking-down segregation was to remove the white and coloured toilet signs so the African-American staff don’t have to run two blocks to keep using the toilet!
The three main characters that Hidden Figures is about are played with warmth and charisma by - Tara P. Henson plays Katherine Globe Johnson - Octavia Spencer plays Dorothy Vaughan - Janelle Monáe plays Mary Jackson.
Katherine Globe Johnson was a Physicist and Mathematician that worked on the Project Mercury mission. Her work consisted of calculations of trajectories, launch windows and emergency back-up return paths for American astronauts.
Dorothy Vaughan was a Mathematician and Human Computer and later on supervised a group at the West Area Computers facility at NASA.
Mary Jackson was a Mathematician and Aerospace Engineer who ended-up in NASA’s equality department for both women and African-Americans to join, work and succeed at NASA.