The life story of Katherine Johnson, the Black Female Mathematician who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year will be made into a book and a movie titled Hidden Figures.
A move aimed at giving limelight to the contributions the black female mathematician made in aerospace technology and America’s race to Space Exploration. Then people will know exactly why she was given the award, and just how much she deserved it.
Johnson was a member of a group of women that served as NASA’s living computers. That was before the space agency began using actual computers. She also played a key role in numerous historic space missions in the 60’s and 70’s. Johnson was part of the team that calculated the trajectory of Alan Shepard’s flight into space, making him the first American to fly out to space. She was also one of the mathematicians that calculated the Apollo 11 trajectory that took Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin to the moon.
The book’s author Margot Lee Shetterly says when she first heard about Katherine Johnson’s contribution to the space agency, her first thought was why haven’t people heard more about her. As part of NASA’s ‘colored computers’ as they were referred to then, Shetterly thinks more people should hear about Johnson and her roles at the space agency.
Being an African American woman working at such a prestigious organization at a time when men and women separated and white people and black people were segregated, Johnson’s achievements were no mean feat.
The book is expected to come out in September, 2016, while the book’s movie adaption will follow in January, 2017. The movie will star Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spenser as Johnson’s supervisor Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monáe will be NASA’s engineer Mary Jackson.
— Wilson Morales (@blackfilm) May 21, 2016
— Jarett Wieselman (@JarettSays) May 21, 2016