Wednesday, January 25, 2017

In gratitude to Katherine Johnson

This blog rarely promotes a book or movie, but today is an exception. Now in theaters, "Hidden Figures" is a movie everyone needs to see. It tells the experiences of many talented black women who worked for NASA in the 1950s, helping put our first astronauts into space. These ladies' contributions were ignored for decades, until President Barak Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to one of the hidden figures, Katherine Johnson, shown here, in 2015.

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In the movie, a youthful Katherine astonishes white male scientists in the NASA space program when she outshines them as a math wizard. They won't drink out of her coffee pot because she's black, and she must run almost half-a-mile from her desk to the nearest restroom open to black women, but at least one astronaut recognized her incredible talents. In 1953, after an IBM computer calculated the trajectory of his first orbital flight, John Glenn refused to launch until "the girl" verified the computer numbers. She improved upon them, adding a few more decimal points. Now 97. she was present last May when NASA dedicated its newest research facility, named in her honor.  See the movie!

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