I had the joy of being able to see this being movie on MLK day this year, and it did not disappoint. This movie is about 3 of some of NASA’s most underappreciated workers that did a lot of the calculations in order to get us into space, and then eventually to the Moon. Since there are three different stories that intertwine because they all worked at the same NASA plant, I will be doing analyses of each individual character.
Katherine G. Johnson
She understood analytical geometry when most human computers did not, along with being able to do math calculations very quickly got her into NASA. When the white female computers’ adviser came to the colored section, she wanted a colored computer that understood analytical geometry. Katherine more than fulfilled this requirement and so she was sent to work with the mostly white males on the Project Mercury when they wanted to send a man into space for the first time. However, the men in there would not give her recognition and even put up a colored coffeepot just so that they would not have to share a pot with her. She had to take 40 minute breaks just to go all the way back to the colored building in order to use the bathroom. Throughout the movie she fights to be recognized to be on some sort of almost equal level with the white men in the room so that she can use her skills to make sure that the astronaut would get back safely.
She was the head of the colored computers department. The supervisor had left an unnamed amount of time before, so she had stepped up to hand out jobs as a supervisor would but was not recognized as a fellow supervisor officially nor by the white female computers’ supervisor. Throughout the movie she is fighting to be officially assigned the position as supervisor of the colored computer department. Also, when she realizes that the new IBM computer machine will eventually take the jobs of both the white and black female and possibly male computer departments, she was determined to teach herself and the colored computer girls how to work the machine so they would keep their jobs.
She wanted to be the first colored female engineer at NASA, but every time she became qualified enough to fulfill the requirements of engineer they bumped it up another level so she had to keep working. The final level was that one had to take extra classes at a whites-only high school in order to become a NASA engineer. She went to court to try to gain access to this whites-only high school so that she could become an engineer.
This movie and these women were inspiring historical figures that had been completely forgotten in the history books when they wrote about man going into space. I am overjoyed that this movie was created to celebrate their accomplishments, and I hope to see more movies like that to follow.