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The Resource Hidden figures : the American dream and the untold story of the Black women mathematicians who helped win the space race, Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden figures : the American dream and the untold story of the Black women mathematicians who helped win the space race, Margot Lee Shetterly

Label
Hidden figures : the American dream and the untold story of the Black women mathematicians who helped win the space race
Title
Hidden figures
Title remainder
the American dream and the untold story of the Black women mathematicians who helped win the space race
Statement of responsibility
Margot Lee Shetterly
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
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. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were 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. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton, Virginia, and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley's all-black "West Computing" group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens
Tone
Writing style
Award
  • ALA Notable Book, 2017.
  • Amelia Bloomer List, 2017
  • BCALA Literary Award for Nonfiction, 2017.
  • Booklist Editors' Choice: Adult Books for Young Adults, 2016.
  • National Academies Communication Award, 2017.
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ In popular culture, Rosie the Riveter symbolized the thousands of women who worked assembly line jobs during World War II; her image lives on as an iconic poster for women's rights. Shetterly tells a companion story: starting in 1945, about 50 college-educated African American female mathematicians were among the approximately 1,000 women quietly hired by Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory as entry-level "computers"— their job title before the actual machine was invented. The author focuses on four black women who worked alongside engineers—that more prestigious title went to white men—to run tests, produce calculations, and tweak theories, pushing America into the modern aviation age. Their work ethic, smarts, and loyalty also gave them something else: earning power. Proudly securing a place in the middle class for their families, they could afford their own homes and college educations for their children. In exchange, they agreed to fit in—enduring, for example, the daily humiliation of the company's segregated cafeteria. Even the few who simply ate at their desks agreed, implicitly, to keep politics out of the workplace. As an insider, Shetterly, whose father was an African American career scientist at Langley, pieces this history together lovingly and carefully, with more than 250 footnotes. Now a mainstream movie, this is an inspiring account that is not so much hidden as it is untold. VERDICT Spotlighting pioneering black women who made their mark as mathematicians during segregation, this is a must for history collections.—Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY --Georgia Christgau (Reviewed 04/01/2017) (School Library Journal, vol 63, issue 04, p162)
  • /* Starred Review */ Shetterly, founder of the Human Computer Project, passionately brings to light the important and little-known story of the black women mathematicians hired to work as computers at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, Va., part of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NASA's precursor). The first women NACA brought on took advantage of a WWII opportunity to work in a segregated section of Langley, doing the calculations necessary to support the projects of white male engineers. Shetterly writes of these women as core contributors to American success in the midst of a cultural "collision between race, gender, science, and war," teasing out how the personal and professional are intimately related. She celebrates the skills of mathematicians such as Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Hoover, whose brilliant work eventually earned them slow advancement but never equal footing. Shetterly collects much of her material directly from those who were there, using personal anecdotes to illuminate the larger forces at play. Exploring the intimate relationships among blackness, womanhood, and 20th-century American technological development, Shetterly crafts a narrative that is crucial to understanding subsequent movements for civil rights. A star-studded feature film based on Shetterly's book is due out in late 2016. (Sept.) 
			 --Staff (Reviewed 08/29/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 35, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ In this debut, Shetterly shines a much-needed light on the bright, talented, and wholly underappreciated geniuses of the institution that would become NASA. Called upon during the labor shortage of World War II, these women were asked to serve their country and put their previously overlooked skills to work—all while being segregated from their white coworkers. The author tells the compelling stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden as they navigated mathematical equations, the space race, and the civil rights movement over three decades of brilliant computing and discoveries. The professional and private lives of the ladies of Langley Research Center are documented through an impassioned and clearly well-researched narrative. Readers will learn how integral these women were to American aeronautics and be saddened by the racism and sexism that kept them from deserved recognition. VERDICT Shetterly's highly recommended work offers up a crucial history that had previously and unforgivably been lost. We'd do well to put this book into the hands of young women who have long since been told that there's no room for them at the scientific table. [See Prepub Alert, 3/21/16; "Editors' Fall Picks," p. 27.] --Kate DiGirolomo (Reviewed 09/01/2016) (Library Journal, vol 141, issue 14, p123)
  • An inside look at the World War II–era black female mathematicians who assisted greatly in the United States’ aeronautics industry.Shetterly’s father, a 40-year veteran of what became Langley Research Center, used to tell her the stories of the black female “computers” who were hired in 1943 to work in the computing pool. The first female computing pool, begun in the mid-1930s, had caused an uproar; the men in the lab couldn’t believe a female mind could process the rigorous math and work the expensive calculating machine. In 1941, Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, desegregating the defense industry and paving the way for Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and others to begin work in 1943. The author never fully explains what machine they were using, but it was likely more advanced than the comptometer. What is perfectly clear is that the women who were hired were crack mathematicians, either already holding master’s degrees or destined to gain one. It was hard enough to be a woman in the industry at that time, but the black women who worked at Langley also had to be strong, sharp, and sufficiently self-possessed to be able to question their superiors—and that is just what they did. They sought information, offered suggestions, caught errors, and authored research reports. The stories are amazing not because the women were extremely smart, but because they fought for and won recognition and devotedly supported each other’s work. Their work outside the office—as Scout leaders, public speakers, and leaders of seminars to promote science and engineering—was even more impressive. They were there from the beginning, perfecting World War II planes and proving to be invaluable to the nascent space program. Much of the work will be confusing to the mathematically disinclined, but their story is inspiring and enlightening.(Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 1900)
Biography type
collective biography
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10494586
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Shetterly, Margot Lee
Dewey number
510.92/520973
Index
index present
Interest level
UG
LC call number
QA27.5
LC item number
.L44 2016
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
Reading level
9.7
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader AR
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • United States
  • United States
  • Women mathematicians
  • African American women
  • African American mathematicians
  • Space race
  • African American mathematicians
  • African American women
  • Employees
  • Space race
  • Women mathematicians
  • 20th Century
  • SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
  • United States
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
the American dream and the untold story of the Black women mathematicians who helped win the space race
Label
Hidden figures : the American dream and the untold story of the Black women mathematicians who helped win the space race, Margot Lee Shetterly
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [319]-328) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1647885
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xvii, 346 pages
Isbn
9780062363596
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2016021050
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780062363596
  • (OCoLC)950004289
Label
Hidden figures : the American dream and the untold story of the Black women mathematicians who helped win the space race, Margot Lee Shetterly
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [319]-328) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1647885
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xvii, 346 pages
Isbn
9780062363596
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2016021050
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780062363596
  • (OCoLC)950004289

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