Written by: Jeffrey L. Boney
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the Academy Award-nominated film Hidden Figures, which features an all-star cast of professionals who bring to life on the big screen the lives of three African American women (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson). The math and STEM-related contributions of these three Black women played a significant role in helping NASA astronaut John Glenn precisely launch and land the NASA spacecraft out of space in the 1960s.
Sadly, their story had never been told until now, and there is no telling how many other young African American girls could have been inspired to get involved with math or other STEM-related areas of study, if they would have known about these three phenomenal African American women who had been hidden from them for decades.
In 2013, the National Science Foundation found that a little over 800,000 African American women were employed in science and engineering-related occupations, compared to nearly 8 million White women. While this disparity is quite noticeable by many, sadly, many young African American women tend to steer clear of STEM-related fields because of their lack of familiarity with the area, and because of the lack of role-models they see being highlighted. Read more…