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History Book Group: "Hidden Figures" by Margot Lee Shetterly

Join the Decorah Public Library History Book Group to discuss Margot Lee Shetterly’s New York Times bestseller “Hidden Figures” at 6:30 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 16 on the 2nd floor of the library. Books are available for checkout at the front desk. The group is open to the public and newcomers are encouraged to attend. “Hidden Figures” has recently been adapted into a film of the same name; movie-goers are welcome to attend the discussion as well.


“Hidden Figures” relates the phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA at the leading edge of the feminist and civil rights movement, whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space.


Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.


Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group later helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War.


“Hidden Figures” follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes.


In addition to writing “Hidden Figures,” author Margot Lee Shetterly is also the founder of The Human Computer Project, an endeavor that is recovering the names and accomplishments of all of the women who worked as computers, mathematicians, scientists and engineers at the NACA and NASA from the 1930s through the 1980s. She is a Hampton, Virginia native, University of Virginia graduate, entrepreneur, and an intrepid traveler who spent 11 years living in Mexico. She currently lives in Charlottesville, VA.


Call the library at 382-3717 for more information.


Hidden Figures flyer 2.16.17