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“Hidden Figures” Highlights an American Progressive Era

I went to see Hidden Figures yesterday. It’s a wonderful movie, entertaining and important. Based on a true story, we get to know three gifted, achieving black American women who made a lasting mark on NASA in the early 1960s.

Yet the movie also made me feel sad. For two hours, we immerse ourselves in the years when America was on the cusp of great technological and social advancement. What happened to that promise of a brighter, better, more civilized nation?

For as we know, shortly after the film’s time period, the assassinations occurred — the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some kind of particular, sticky darkness has dimmed our nation’s light ever since.

While leaving the theater, I overheard a fellow viewer make a telling remark, “That was great! How come we’ve never heard this story before?”

Hidden Figures reminds us of a uniquely progressive era of American history, by telling a story that has been submerged under a pall of darkness. The the question is, can America once again turn up the lights?


About The Author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about an alpha Bichon named Chester, and his friends--with a dash of humor and a dab of poli-sci. JoAnn worked professionally in the Psychology and Information Science fields. Retired now, she enjoys the creative life.


  1. Holistic Wayfarer

    I heard about them on NPR. Just so cool.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Yes. You’ll enjoy the movie. The best to you in 2017, Holistic.

  2. Aquileana

    I will add it to my list…. Interesting that you have used the word bright (er) to describe USA… Reminded me of how that same word is used in the series “Black Mirror” (meaning somehow darkness, isolation via Mass media and technology!)… thanks for sharing and best wishes to you! 😀

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Thanks, Aquileana. My sadness is about potential lost, not meaning to imply that such potential had ever been realized. I haven’t seen the “Black Mirror” series, and will look into it. The best to you in 2017!

  3. usfman

    I taught American History for several years in the public schools and never saw any reference in my textbooks to these women. Interesting movie.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Interesting, USFman. I was in grade school during the early 60s. Regarding contributions made by members of a minority group, I only remember learning about George Washington Carver.

  4. Rosaliene Bacchus

    JoAnn, I haven’t seen the movie yet. But when I saw the trailer, I was taken aback. I had never heard about the work of these black women. The success of blacks way back in our history is hidden from us to maintain the myth of black inferiority.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      You are absolutely right. Enjoy the film when you see it!

  5. philosophyfictionblog

    That looks like a good movie. It’s important people are reminded that African-American women were so instrumental in the success of NASA.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Yes. I think the film’s depiction of these women is not too over-embellished. At the end, facts scroll by, including one that NASA named a new building after Katherine G. Johnson. These women earned great respect from their peers during their careers.

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