Spelman College

Women in Science: no longer 'Hidden Figures'

Women in Science: no longer 'Hidden Figures'

Long before the STEM programs (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) were created to encourage girls and young women to enter these fields, a few of them were already there as the “hidden figures.”

As Margot Lee Shetterly wrote in 2016 in her acclaimed book “Hidden Figures,” followed by a movie of the same name, there was a small group of black women — outstanding mathematicians — who worked at Langley Research Center, the precursor to NASA, and were crucial to the success of the space race, to Sputnick and to Silicon Valley.

In the 1940s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor, both civil rights advocates, realized we needed to beef up our military...

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