The Forgotten Women Who Helped Win The Space Race

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“Meet the women you don’t know, behind the mission you do.” Hidden Figures hit theaters on January 6 and is now known as the #1 movie in the world.

According to, the film made a $22.8 million debut, passing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Hidden Figures tells the true story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. During the time of segregation in the 1950’s and 60’s, the three female African-American mathematicians work towards helping NASA launch the program’s first successful space missions. The women are known as “the forgotten women who helped win the space race.”

The movie stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe and depicts the struggles that each women and their families face due to racial segregation. While working at NASA’s Langley research center, the colored women are segregated from the white women in the office basement. As the story progresses, the audience sees the development of equality in the workplace as well as in public.

At the time of the space race and the civil rights movement, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. What most people don’t know is the story of the minds behind the NASA project to launch Glenn into orbit. Glenn died on December 8 at age 95 just weeks before the release of Hidden Figures.

Audiences were surprised to hear of the unexpected success of the movie. According to, Henson captioned an Instagram picture with, “I have been told my entire career ‘Black women can’t open films domestically or internationally.’ Well anything is possible. Most importantly this proves that people like good material. Has nothing to do with gender or race. Agreed?! Thank you to everyone who supported this weekend even during the snow storm…” in response to the movie passing Rogue One.

Alex Mock (‘17) said, “My AP Calculus teacher offered our class extra credit to go see the movie, so I had planned on seeing it with low expectations for how good it was going to be. I was surprised with how exciting and moving the movie really was. It was a great film and I recommend it to anyone.”

Categories: ENTERTAINMENT, Movies & Television

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