So I finally got around to see Hidden Figures, and it was everything I had imagined. Walking out of the theater, I felt 10 feet tall. It was as if Dorothy, Katherine and Mary said directly to me, go do it sister. While I am not in the STEM field, I was still largely inspired by the stories of these pioneering Black Women. These women proved that anything is possible, even a world where a seat is not reserved for you.
If there is nothing else to be learned from the movie, it is to not let a man define who you are or what you can do. Katherine G. Johnson, had the skills to see beyond what no other mathematician employed by NASA could. Despite each setback she continued to excel at her job. She took each adversity in stride. While her counterparts were afraid of her because she was a Black Woman, she continued to push forward, doing everything in her power to achieve the goal of sending a man safely into space and back, and she did it. It was by the calculations of Katherine G. Johnson that entry into space and back was possible.
Katherine’s colleague Dorothy Vaughan spear headed the programming of the first IBM computers. Without being asked or assigned, she saw an opportunity to do something great and brought along 30 other Black Women into computer programming for NASA. So when you think about it, the computer programs we use today were made possible by Black women with forward thinking. In a time where women were expected to answer phones and get coffee, these women helped make space travel a reality. Their scientific advances, influenced many of the devices we use everyday.
Their counterpart, Mary Jackson became the first Black Woman engineer at NASA. Mary had the skills and talent to work along side some of the greatest minds of her day and yet because she was a black woman, she was unable to submit her application for engineer without a few extra classes from a segregated school. Mary pled her case before a Hampton county judge to enroll at the then all white high school and won. She took night classes to gain the qualifications necessary to be an engineer at NASA. She believed in her abilities and let nothing stop her in her mission to do what had never been done before.
While we are living in a more progressive time now, Black Women, still face many of the same difficulties in the workforce. We know one thing for sure, and that is that the American system, makes any achievement of African Americans a difficult task. We know the system is not designed for us to win but the American system is no match for the power Black women posses. There may be difficulties along our journey, but we are not allowed to give up. We must use every once of our strength and will power to be the best we can be. The system will continue to tell us we are not capable but there is no power greater than a woman determined to rise. While the journey may be filled with obstacles we must not get discouraged. We are here in this time right now to continue the work of future generations. It is up too us to lead the way. I carry the torch passed down to me as I pass it on to my future daughters.Never forget the power you posses.