Hidden Figures details the lives of the African American women who were the computers for NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which later became NASA. Before reading this, I assumed that these women were relatively young and fresh out of college without families of there own, but I quickly learned that this was not true. One of the first women we meet is married with children of her own. She’s a teacher (as some of the other women are) and took extra jobs to make sure she could give her children everything that she could. These women took these jobs as wartime jobs and were able to turn it into a meaningful career.
Because of the times, there was still segregation at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory where the women worked. There were separate bathrooms, separate tables for lunch, and separate housing. Some people were willing to break the color barrier and to invite the African Americans to socialize after work, others kept to what was expected of the times, each keep to themselves. It was nice to read about people not being afraid of breaking the color barrier, especially since they were working in Virginia. Those who assigned work often asked for a specific person to run the numbers for them- they didn’t care about the color of the skin but the work that they preformed.
I did think the book started slowly. It was also hard for me to keep track of each person they were talking about. I was also disappointed that it was more of a narrative of what was happening at the time. I thought that it would have more interactions between the women the story is about, not just their backgrounds and what was happening in America and around the world at the time.