“Hidden Figures” is a Film Our Nation Needs to Experience

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Hannah Rothkopf, Staff Writer

So many influential and astounding women in American history have been overlooked and forced to hide behind a curtain heavy with the names of many, becoming nothing more than a did-you-know fact. “Hidden Figures” breathtakingly recreates the lives and accomplishments of three very influential women in America’s history.

“Hidden Figures” takes place in the year 1962. A year that happened to sit right in the middle of the Cold War and of one of the biggest civil movements in American history.

Segregation would not be abolished for another two years, America would not land on the moon for another seven, and it was still unusual for women to have prestigious jobs, like helping to put manned rockets into space.

Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson were women ahead of their time. The three showed that women are just as capable and intelligent–if not more– as any of the smartest men they worked alongside at the Langley Research Center.

Despite how the movie portrays their friendship, Johnson, Vaughn, and Jackson were not close until later in their careers, after they became more successful. Yet director Theodore Melfi stays true to the lives of the three remarkable women making a point to include not only the sexism they faced, but the racial discrimination that was so prominent in 1930’s Virginia.

The film follows the trio as they change the course of history becoming the firsts in their fields of expertise. But that’s just the surface of this vastly meaningful film. It’s meant to provoke certain questions to be asked and certain thoughts to be had, like why have we not read these names in our history books?

Johnson, Vaughn, and Jackson defied so many of the societal expectations women and African Americans were held to at the time. They burned a bright path for future American women to follow and grow from. “Hidden Figures”is a film that our nation has needed to experience for a regrettably long time. It is now our job to remember the names and accomplishments of the hidden women and people of color who have so strongly influenced our lives today, and “Hidden Figures” is an important part of that.