Margot Lee Shetterly, 2016
This book documents and highlights the work of Black women who worked as mathematicians at NACA (which eventually becomes NASA post-WWII). Shetterly chronicles the personal and professional lives of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden as they navigate the plethora of challenges that come with being Black women during the 1940s-70s. Hidden Figures shows how this racism and sexism affected their professional goals of entering the white, male-dominated STEM field. Not ones to bow to societal pressures, these women built successful careers while having fulfilling and busy family lives as well. It beautifully blends rich, flowing prose with historical analysis and insight, making this a perfect introduction for those who haven’t read historical nonfiction before. It also challenges the dominant “white” image of NASA, ensuring that these “Hidden Figures” aren’t relegated to the shadows of history and rightfully brought into the spotlight.
Get this book at Loyola University Chicago Library.
Review by Erin Witt