Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America's aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley's all-black "West Computing" group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens. (from the publisher)
Hidden Figures is a 2016 American biographical drama film. The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson and features Octavia Spencer as NASA supervisor and mathematician Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monáe as NASA engineer Mary Jackson, with Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, and Mahershala Ali in supporting roles.
If you're looking for more titles like Hidden Figures, check these out! These selections include the history of the Space Race and women's achievements in science and other fields of STEM.