Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hidden Figures

Starry Night and the Astronauts by Alma Thomas
Acrylic on Canvas, 1972 
 find it at
The Art Institute of Chicago® 
Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew - Cicely Tyson

No one ever heard of a black woman pilot in 1919.  I refused to take no for an answer.  - Bessie Coleman

Know how to learn. Than want to learn. - Katherine Johnson.

I have been reviewing my posts that received over 100 views.  My readers seem to have honed in on three topics: kindness, my version of spirituality that includes kitchen magic, and feminism.   

Today's post falls under the theme of feminism.  I recently read Lynn Bilal's post on Prevent Connect about oppression and how many social justice issues are connected.  She quotes author bell hooks who asks people to look at each form of oppression (sexism, racism, ageism...) as part of a larger system of keeping people in place.  Lynn Bilal's guest blog encourages civil conversations this month around the story of unseen and nearly forgotten black women who worked at the Langley Research Center, Hampton Virginia. Ms. Bilal asks people to look at the intersections between these African American women's experiences as STEM scientists, sexual harassment, gender and racism.   


Look What We Have Become by Rocker Grace Potter.  Song honors women of NASA


Hidden Figures Poster 2016

A Celtic Wise Witchy Woman knows her-story and the woman who didn't take no as an answer in order for her world to be better.

Step 1:  Again, I am borrowing from Lynn Bilal's blog.  I want to encourage everyone to take the time to see the movie Hidden Figures.  The movie is in theaters in the U.S. starting January 6, 2017.  It is based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly.  The film depicts the experience of three African-American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson.  These women served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut and Ohioan John Glenn into orbit.

Step 2: Have a conversation with a friend, family member, co-worker... This can be an opportunity to talk about racism, gender bias, and sexual harassment portrayed in the movie. OR, use these questions obtained from Margot Lee Shetterlys book Hidden Figures, YA Edition.
  • What does this job mean for Dorothy in terms of social mobility?
  • From what we know so far, in what ways do Dorothy and Katherine’s experiences mirror each other? In what ways are they different?
  • How does the civil rights movement take shape during this time period?
  • Are the women who become “girl computers” held to a higher standard? Do they hold themselves to one? Why or why not?
  • How do the racial problems in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s change the perception of the U.S. abroad? How is this used as propaganda by the Soviet Union?
  • How was the fight for social equality affecting education? How would those practices affect Langley recruitment? In what ways is Mary’s transition to engineer significant?
  • What impact, if any did the Soviets having engineering schools dominated by women play-out in American press, especially in papers like the Washington Post?
GROUND RULES for Civil Conversation:

  1. Listen more than you speak.  It is okay to have quiet time. These are tough topics.
  2. Be kind to one and other.  
  3. Be forgiving.

Extra Credit Resources from Lynn Bilal 
Additional Resources

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Hi all - I really like your comments, but have had a change of heart regarding anonymous comments. My CCWWW beliefs are that you need to stand behind what you say and what you do. Peace out.