Hidden Figures : The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
by Shetterly, Margot Lee







Author's Noteix
Prologuexi
1 A Door Opens
1(13)
2 Mobilization
14(15)
3 Past Is Prologue
29(12)
4 The Double V
41(16)
5 Manifest Destiny
57(22)
6 War Birds
79(16)
7 The Duration
95(13)
8 Those Who Move Forward
108(14)
9 Breaking Barriers
122(27)
10 Home by the Sea
149(22)
11 The Area Rule
171(15)
12 Serendipity
186(13)
13 Turbulence
199(20)
14 Angle of Attack
219(18)
15 Young, Gifted, and Black
237(18)
16 What a Difference a Day Makes
255(22)
17 Outer Space
277(13)
18 With All Deliberate Speed
290(17)
19 Model Behavior
307(14)
20 Degrees of Freedom
321(18)
21 Out of the Past, the Future
339(23)
22 America Is for Everybody
362(14)
23 To Boldly Go
376(20)
Epilogue396(33)
Acknowledgments429(8)
Notes437(88)
Bibliography525


An account of the previously unheralded but pivotal contributions of NASA's African-American women mathematicians to America's space program describes how they were segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws in spite of their groundbreaking successes.





*Starred Review* On a trip home to Hampton, Virginia, Shetterly stumbled upon an overlooked aspect of American history that is almost mythic in scope. As the daughter of an engineer who became a highly respected scientist, she was aware of the town's close ties to NASA's nearby Langley Research Center and also of the high number of African Americans, like him, who worked there. What she did not know was that many of the women, particularly African American women, were employed not as secretaries but as "computers": individuals capable of making accurate mathematical calculations at staggering speed who ultimately contributed to the agency's aerodynamic and space projects on an impressive scale. Shetterly does an outstanding job of weaving the nearly unbelievable stories of these women into the saga of NASA's history (as well as its WWII-era precursor) while simultaneously keeping an eye on the battle for civil rights that swirled around them. This is an incredibly powerful and complex story, and Shetterly has it down cold. The breadth of her well-documented research is immense, and her narrative compels on every level. With a major movie due out in January, this book-club natural will be in demand. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.





An inside look at the World War II-era black female mathematicians who assisted greatly in the United States' aeronautics industry.Shetterly's father, a 40-year veteran of what became Langley Research Center, used to tell her the stories of the black female "computers" who were hired in 1943 to work in the computing pool. The first female computing pool, begun in the mid-1930s, had caused an uproar; the men in the lab couldn't believe a female mind could process the rigorous math and work the expensive calculating machine. In 1941, Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, desegregating the defense industry and paving the way for Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and others to begin work in 1943. The author never fully explains what machine they were using, but it was likely more advanced than the comptometer. What is perfectly clear is that the women who were hired were crack mathematicians, either already holding master's degrees or destined to gain one. It was hard enough to be a woman in the industry at that time, but the black women who worked at Langley also had to be strong, sharp, and sufficiently self-possessed to be able to question their superiors-and that is just what they did. They sought information, offered suggestions, caught errors, and authored research reports. The stories are amazing not because the women were extremely smart, but because they fought for and won recognition and devotedly supported each other's work. Their work outside the office-as Scout leaders, public speakers, and leaders of seminars to promote science and engineering-was even more impressive. They were there from the beginning, perfecting World War II planes and proving to be invaluable to the nascent space program. Much of the work will be confusing to the mathematically disinclined, but their story is inspiring and enlightening. Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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