women and books

Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.
—  Coretta Scott King

Continuing to work on both Eihrdah and Naddie. Glad I made some progress on this today, because I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to work on it this week between teaching, plugging away at my word count goals for the first draft of this story, and the art walk at the end of the week, and it’s nice to end the weekend knowing this is a whole lot further along than it was on Friday. 

Oscars 2017: ‘Hidden Figures’ stars honor Katherine Johnson

The Academy Awards may be all about honoring the biggest achievements in film, but this year’s ceremony also took a moment to pay tribute to one of the real-life heroes behind one of the Best Picture nominees.

Hidden Figures stars Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, and Octavia Spencer took to the Oscar stage to introduce the nominees for Best Documentary Feature, but before they opened the envelope and announced the winner, they shined the spotlight on famed scientist Katherine Johnson, who Henson plays in the film. As a longtime mathematician at NASA, Johnson played a key role in some of the agency’s most important missions — including astronaut John Glenn’s orbital mission in 1962.

“Movies about the lives of men and women in the history books have long been a staple of storytellers,” Monae told the audience. “Sometimes the names and deeds of the heroes in those films are known to all.”

“And then there are those films that shine the spotlight on those whose names were known to only a few, but whose stories deserve to be told,” Spencer continued.

Henson then welcomed the 98-year-old Johnson to the stage as “a true NASA and American hero,” leading the audience in a standing ovation.

Hidden Figures is up for three Oscars at this year’s ceremony: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress for Spencer. See the full list of this year’s nominees and winners here.

On Feb. 20, 1962, John Glenn blasted off into space and became the first American to orbit the Earth. Behind the scenes, thousands of engineers and mathematicians worked tirelessly to make NASA’s Friendship 7 mission a success. Historical photos show them as white men in crisp white shirts and ties — but we now know there’s more to that picture.

In her book Hidden Figures, author Margot Lee Shetterly gives name and voice to the African-American women who worked as human “computers” in the space program. Now, just a few months after the book was published, a new movie is also telling that story. (The film rights were optioned just a couple weeks after Shetterly got her book deal.) As mathematicians and engineers, these women made incalculable contributions to the space program — and the fact that they were African-Americans working in the segregated South makes their stories even more remarkable.’

‘Hidden Figures’ No More: Meet The Black Women Who Helped Send America To Space

Photo: Bob Nye/Courtesy NASA Langley
Caption: According to NASA, Mary Jackson “may have been the only black female aeronautical engineer in the field” in the 1950s. Singer and actress Janelle Monae plays her in the film
Hidden Figures.