Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.
Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.
Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.
“The Fierce Urgency of Prophetic Hope”
In this prophetic collection of sermons, pastor, judge, and prophet Wendell L. Griffen challenges followers of Jesus, those social justice-minded pastors, congregational leaders, religious educators, grassroots activists and advocates, and other faithful persons, to ponder these questions:
• What does it mean to be a “prophetic follower of Jesus”?
• How will lessons in Scripture and across human history inform our action in the world?
• How can we speak of hope in a time of deep division—a time too often defined by racism, misogyny, materialism, militarism, religious nationalism, and xenophobia?
“My Easter Story”
Some family traditions we carry with us from childhood into our adult lives. The memories are stored in the very depth of our souls. As children it did not matter ones’ religion, race, or social status; holidays may be celebrated in different ways, but we have that common thread; we celebrate with our loved ones and create memories that last a lifetime.
Easter is one of the holidays that may take on a different name depending on religion, place of residence, or ethnic culture, but the traditional celebrations are similar.
Such is the tradition with the writer’s family. Maria Hoskins recalls how fun, exciting, and special Easter preparation and Easter Sunday activities were during her childhood, especially at her Grandmother’s house. Maria hopes each reader will enjoy her Easter story and recall those moments when things like finding a basket of colored and candy eggs felt and tasted like there was nothing else better in the whole wide world.