Power in Hidden Figures

Some time ago Dan and I saw the movie Hidden Figures, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.  It’s about three brilliant African-American women who worked at NASA in the 1960s.  Did I say worked?   They were actually the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: astronaut John Glenn’s launch into orbit.  It was a stunning achievement that turned the Space Race around, electrifying the world.

The story is based on three real-life math whizzes who just happened to be African-American women. Real-life in that the main character is both black and a woman. (The position was considered a herculean achievement for a white woman, but for a woman of color, it was impossible.)  Black and a woman, and she paid the price for being both.  Yet she had pulled it off.  And instead of resulting in a dull, good-for-us movie, it is an easy-to-watch, well-written message assuring young women that anything is possible, and  for those of us who remember those days, a well-deserved affirmation of our claims.

I give it triumphant 10!

“You have to be taught to be second class. You’re not born that way.”

Lena Horne


About kaystrom

Kay Marshall Strom, who am I? Well, I’m a traveler, a railer against social injustice, a passionate citizen of the world. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m a 21st century abolitionist who speaks out against slavery of all kinds. I am a beach walker and a gardener and the off-key singer of songs. I’m a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Most people, though, know me as a writer and a speaker. So here is a bit more about that part of my life: Of my 43 published books, eight have been book club selections, seventeen have been translated into foreign languages, and two have been optioned for movies. My writing credits include numerous magazine articles, books for children, short stories, television scripts and two prize-winning screenplays. Along with my husband Dan, I also have produced a series of booklets for writers. My writing has appeared in a number of volumes including three versions of the NIV Devotional Bible and the devotional book My Heart, Christ’s Home, Through the Year. I love to write, and I love to share about topics close to my heart. I speak at seminars, retreats, writer’s conferences, and special events throughout the country. And because I do enjoy travel, I even speak on cruise ships! More and more my writing and speaking are drawing me to countries and cultures around the world. Because I don’t see how a writer can really reflect another people and land without spending time there, I’ve been trekking through India, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Sudan, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt, tape recorder and camera in hand, to gather stories from the world-wide family of God and to speak on their behalf. I’ve traveled to the hard places of the world to tell “the rest of the story” of our donor dollars at work. Thanks to my “virtual friendship” with 17th century John Newton, slave ship captain turned preacher, I traveled through Ireland with the preview team of the movie Amazing Grace (John wrote the hymn). I recently spoke in Japan and South Korea, and my husband Dan and I taught writing classes in India. And, oh, how thankful I am for every bit of it! I went to West Africa to work on a non-fiction book, but when I toured an old slave fortress off the coast and saw a tiny set of baby manacles bolted to the wall, I was struck dumb. All I could think was: “How could good, God-fearing people ever get to the place where they think that is okay?” From that horror came a story question, and from that question, my foray into fiction: The Grace in Africa trilogy. My seven trips to India led to the Blessings in India fiction trilogy. Come join me as I travel and rail against injustice. Join me as I walk along the beach, or work in the garden, or warble a tune. Be my friend. Maybe you will choose to also be a 21st century abolitionist.
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6 Responses to Power in Hidden Figures

  1. I loved Hidden Figures! For me, it sent a empowering message to anyone who has been told, “You can’t because…”

  2. Laura says:

    We don’t hear this message, or see the real life results nearly often enough.
    Which is why so many men haven ‘t gotten it through their thick heads. Let’s make certain they do know!

  3. Kim Shepherd says:

    One more observation that might be helpful…

    The person who was in power at that establishment recognized the contribution and went against the “status quo” to support the down-trodden and enable them to do their task more effectively. He may have just been looking at the result and identifying how to make the working more efficient and effective, but his actions allowed that and more. Simply by allowing the woman into a near-by bathroom he allowed for more time on the job and a recognition of her value to the team. By the same token, his ignorance of the reality of her situation was brought to light, and then he facilitated supports. As someone in a more favored position, both speak to me: seek out injustice and create supports to enable strengths and truth to be shown. Do not see with eyes of “that’s how it is” , but rather with eyes of “what are people’s strengths and how can people be supported so they will have an opportunity to show their strengths”.

    • kaystrom says:

      Good observations, Kim. I agree wholeheartedly with the idea of looking at situations through fresh, compassionate, forward thinking eyes.
      Thanks for your “ramblings”!
      ~ Kay

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