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Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Key insights from Margot Lee Shetterly's

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race


Key insights from Margot Lee Shetterly's

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

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10 minutes

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A look at the American heroes you never knew existed.

Behind Neil Armstrong and John Glenn — behind the many white faces that peppered NASA’s public presence — were a handful of unlikely heroes whose talents in mathematics, engineering, and computing helped secure America’s victory in the epic space race against Russia. In this Snapshot, you’ll learn about the black women who altered the course of US history in the face of prejudice and segregation.

Read this Snapshot if you:

  • Want to learn lesser-known aspects of American history
  • Are curious about the events behind Apollo 11
  • Enjoy stories of triumph in the face of opposition
What is a Snapshot?Learn More

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Introduction

The fact that black women were hired as mathematicians, computers, engineers, and scientists at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory during racial segregation is a hidden fact in American history.

But it did happen. And it wasn’t just black women: By 1946, hundreds of females, both black and white, worked in aeronautics at Langley.

It’s not just their presence that is surprising but the work they completed — some of which altered the course of American space exploration. These women deserve a place in the grand narrative of the epic space race between America and the...

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