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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Celebration of Women...Part Two

I did mention in my last Post that I was going to talk about Maya Angelou today. However, after recently watching the film, Hidden Figures, I have changed my mind. Well, it's a woman's perogative, isn't it?!  If you haven't already seen this film, I would urge you to do so, as it features three amazing women who, behind the scenes, played a huge part in NASA's space race successes. 

 

I suppose that I really should now tell you the names of these three unsung heros ... Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan, all of whom were brilliant Afro-American mathematicians.  Really, it is shameful that their contribution has mainly been consigned to the history books. 

My goodness, these were brave young women. Bear in mind that we are talking here about the late 1950's/early 1960's, and these ladies were fighting on two fronts : a) they were women and b) they were black. With all the slights they had to put up with, it would have been all too easy for them to give up, but they kept on trying to break down all the barriers that stood before them. 

That's why I feel they are so deserving to be featured in my Posts, celebrating International Women's Day. 

 
Katherine Johnson. 
 
Mary Jackson 
 
Dorothy Vaughan 

Their meticulous calculations helped America to catch up in the space race that was going on at that time between Russia and the USA.  There is a scene in the film, whereby the Astronaut, John Glenn, insists that Katherine Johnson herself should be the one to check the complex trajectory calculations made by the computer. He refused to let the launch of Friendship 7 (in 1962) go ahead without those checks being done. That's how trusted Katherine's mind was. 

Dorothy Vaughan paved the way for minorities, as she finally became NASA's first ever Afro-American Manager. 

Mary Jackson, again after a long hard battle, became NASA's first black Engineer. The three of them worked closely together to support each other and to achieve their aims. 

I really do recommend that you see the film, which is, just like the women themselves, truly inspirational.  I am delighted that their stories have finally been told. 

As a footnote, NASA's new Computer Research Laboratory (opened just last year) has been named the Katherine G Johnson Computational Research Facility.  How wonderful that Katherine herself was able to attend the Opening, at the age of 97!  She had worked at the Langley Research Centre from 1953 - 1986, and even in her retirement, was a staunch advocate for science, technology, engineering and math education. 

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading about these ladies, as much as I have enjoyed researching them. Enjoy the week ahead everyone. 

11 comments:

Penny Gadd said...

As you say, Diane, these women are truly inspirational. They must have been ferociously dedicated to overcome the obstacles facing them.

Southhamsdarling said...

Hi Penny. I was just so pleased to learn of these women and the story behind them. They really had such prejudices to overcome, which they did with dignity and courage.

Suzanne Prickett said...

Hi Thisisme. I really enjoyed this post about these three great women. I have to say that I have never heard of them before...I just didn't pay much attention to this sort of thing in those days. But, I always knew we have such intelligent women, even in the 50's and 60's. Like you mentioned, there just wasn't much recognition for them. I am so impressed to learn of women in those days who are so accomplished as these three ladies! How did they push their way through college, and acquire such exciting occupations? I cannot imagine having the knowledge that they had. And, it's great to know that John Glenn actually trusted and acknowledged them for their skills!

Bravo to Katherine G. Johnson! What a great story, I would like to see the movie sometime. Thank you for bringing these women to our attention-have a wonderful week, Thisisme! ♥

Southhamsdarling said...

Hello dear Suzanne. Isn't it amazing that we had never heard of these women, who achieved so much, through sheer grit and determination. If you see the film, you will realise just the sort of obstacles they had to deal with. Thank you so much for dropping by, Suzanne, and I hope you have a good week.

doodles n daydreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
doodles n daydreams said...

This film is on my must see list, as you say three very inspirational women in a time that was hard for women to get ahead in the male dominated industries, let alone coloured women.

Diana

Odie Langley said...

Wonderful post like all the posts you bring to us. Hope all is well with you and your beautiful family. Hugs, Odie

Southhamsdarling said...

Thank you for popping over Diana. Yes, you must try to see the film. It's excellent.

Southhamsdarling said...

Hi Odie. I always like it when you pop over to leave a comment. The family are all doing very well - thank you.

Sally Wessely said...

Thank you for honoring these women. The film was truly inspirational. The sad thing is that I never heard of these women before the film came out.

Southhamsdarling said...

Thank you for visiting today, Sally. I know, it's unbelievable that we hadn't heard of these women before the film was released. I'm so glad I went to see it.