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Book Review

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

Lee Shetterly, Margot

When you think about the history of NASA what names come to mind? Probably John Glen, Alan Shepard and Neil Armstrong, but what about Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan or Katherine Johnson? Until recently most Americans had no idea that these women contributed to the success of this country's space exploration.

Shetterly describes the struggles and the eventual recognition of these women, who starting as "human computers" armed with pencils, slide rules and adding machines played critical roles in the launching of rockets and astronauts into space.

I especially admire Mary Jackson for proving to her husband that it is possible to be a woman and an engineer. Like her, many African American women then rose and proved that skin color or gender don't necessarily preclude accomplishment.

I appreciate the Jewish engineer who once told Jackson that she was fit to be an engineer, which encouraged her to fight in court in order to attend a segregated school. This book demonstrates that women can make an impact in the course of history beyond being mothers.

Unfortunately, women still lag behind men in recognition. I would highly recommend everyone to read this book, especially women because it's a real eye opener. Real life events and great personal stories in the lives of these women make this a great read.

By Genesis Villanueva
Submitted: April 28, 2017