The Hidden Stories of NASA

Fatima Mendez | Vida Vaquera Editor

An untold story of three incredibly strong African-American women working at NASA during the time of segregation make their way to the top and make history for all women of color.

This story took place around the segregation, which meant everything was separate but “equal” for whites and for people of color. Hidden Figures points out no matter who you are, there’s no excuse why you should not make it to the top.

Three best friends struggle to make their mark at NASA, but they push their way to the top not by using their skirts, but using their brains.


First, we have Dorothy Vaughan, played by Octavia Spencer,  who was the head of the West Area Computing Unit. She was also a mathematician and became the first African-American manager.

At first, the West Area Computing Unit was managed by a African-American women, but as she left Vaughan took it upon herself and lead these group of women and did it without the pay for a supervisor.

Next is Katherine Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson, who is a physicist, space scientist, and mathematician at NASA. She graduated high school at age 14 and attended college a year later. She was the first African-American to graduate West Virginia University.

While in NASA, Johnson made the calculations of trajectory for John Glenn to go into Earth’s orbit for Friendship 7’s orbit of the Earth and the suborbital flight of Alan Shepard. She was sometimes called the “Human Computer.”

Lastly, we have Mary Jackson, she was also a mathematician and an engineer at the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics). Before working with the NACA, she had to take classes in an all-white school to allow her to do hands-on experiments.

Jackson was the first African-American women to graduate from the University of Virginia. After she completed her courses, she got promoted and became the first African-American woman engineer.

These three women all became a first in history. They inspired many colored women to follow their dreams. Hidden Figures was a touching and inspiring movie, I would give it five stars. This movie is a must watch for 2017.

Not only did I love the story, I loved the actresses they chose for each character. I can’t choose who was my favorite character because they all did great job and each had their own storyline.

Each woman defended their rights, their families, and they knew what they were capable of. I loved the fact that they explained what was going on around that time, they showed that each women had their struggles with discrimination. I think this movie could inspire any young women and even men to fight for what they believe in and never to be ashamed of the color their skin.

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El Vaquerito movie reviews are funded in part by donations from the Livermore High School PTSA. 

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