Updated: Feb 16, 2021
It may seem trite or old hat as she has been all over the news. But, then I remember my news isn't your news. You may not read the news. You may only see Fox News. You may only see CNN news. You may only read your local paper or you may not read any paper. Heck, you may not have even seen Hidden Figures as a movie about a bunch of women doing math may not be your cup of tea!
We say the Hidden Figures trailer at the movies when we say (twice) The Greatest Showman. The first time I was with Arwyn and Nathan and there were two women I didn't know sitting to my right. I'm fairly certain all of us (minus Nathan) were crying during the previews of Hidden Figures.
We weren't able to see it in person, but later in the year Arwyn went to the Dyer Observatory for camp and asked to rent it. We watched it 2 times that week and I think Arwyn watched it every single day after camp. There is no way anyone can see that movie without feeling it deep within and then wanting to know everything possible about those amazing women who not only broke a barrier with gender, but with race.
Here are a few links to read about several African American women hired by NASA. Within some of the links you fill find info on many women who worked for NASA through the years, not only African American women, but as it is BHM, this is the focus of the post. I also want to note that Katherine Johnson, who I will also focus on, was not the first African American woman hired by NASA, however, she played such an important role in the moon landing that she has a building at Langley named after her and was personal friends with John Glenn who would only go into space if she calculated the landing. (I'll be presenting Dorothy Vaughn over the weekend as well.)
I want to say again that these African American women broke a lot of barriers and are inspirations to all. But even beyond that, if you wonder why it is so important to highlight women in STEM, any of the women working at NASA during the last century are fascinating and worth investigating.
It is rare for me to wave any flags of issues that I have faced as a women in the world. However, I am never chose to walk a career path traditionally held by men. These NASA women are inspirations to all and as I have watched my own children grow up and be presented with history, I continue to wonder and worry about the lack of stories about the role of women or of any people of color within our history. Beyond Martha Washington or Helen Keller or Florence Nightingale, I can think of few instances where the stories of influential women were presented to me growing up.