Author Topic: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online  (Read 1176 times)

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The Book Club Online is the oldest  book club on the Internet, begun in 1996, open to everyone.  We offer cordial discussions of one book a month,  24/7 and  enjoy the company of readers from all over the world.  Everyone is welcome.

April Book Club Online

Hidden Figures

by Margot Lee Shetterly




Their work was crucial to the Space Program, but nobody knew their names.  Join us as we learn the true story of these Black women mathematicians.


Schedule:

Apr. 1-7      Prologue, Chapters 1-6
Apr. 8-14    Chapters 7-12
Apr. 15-21  Chapters 13-18
Apr. 22-28  Chapters 19-23, epilogue


Discussion Leaders: PatH and Annie



PatH

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2017, 01:34:50 PM »
Welcome, everyone.  This is an amazing story, and I'm really looking forward to sharing it with you.  How little I knew at the time what was going on behind the scenes!  What about you?  What do you remember?

Annie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 07:14:29 PM »
The story is, previously, unknown history!  And quite a surprise. How could these "computers" (women, black and white) have accomplished so many important tasks for NASA and no one told the world?  I hope "Hidden Figures" piques your interest and you will join us on April 1st.
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

Frybabe

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2017, 02:03:27 PM »
It doesn't look like I will have a copy of Hidden Figures for the discussion - but - I am about a chapter into Rocket Girls... which encompasses all the women going all the way back to JPL's predecessor at Cal Tech. JPL was under the US Army's wing until it was transferred to the newly created NASA in 1958. I expect to see some of the same people that you will run across in Hidden Figures.

PatH

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2017, 03:59:28 PM »
Welcome, Frybabe, I hope you will come in even without the book.  There will be plenty of issues to talk about.

Annie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2017, 04:27:56 PM »
And maybe some of the gals who worked on the A-Bomb at Oak Ridge, TN!   Remember that story about The Women Who Won The War?  Didn't Ella lead that discussion?
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

bellamarie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2017, 05:20:45 PM »
I have my book and am anxious to begin.  The movie is out in our theaters right now and I am so tempted to go see it.  I don't think I have ever seen a movie and then read the book, but because we will be discussing it I may actually enjoy having seen the movie first.

Annie I was thinking of the Girls of Atomic City, and then here you go and mention it.  I think many would question whether those women won the war. I know from the sounds of things they ended up not feeling so proud of being used and kept in the dark on what they were actually doing.  But knowing women played a huge part in creating the atomic bomb was very interesting to read about.  This also brings to mind Henrietta Lacks and how she was not given her rightful due in the living cells that are still being used today to cure diseases.  It is sad to learn how the male/government took advantage of women and never gave them their rightful recognition.  Not so sure that is happening today with women standing up for their equal rights and all.
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

PatH

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2017, 10:51:16 AM »
I think most American women helped win WWII--some of them directly, like Oak Ridge or in military service, but the greatly increased need for productivity and manpower, while manpower was being drawn off to fight, meant that if you did anything to keep the needs of ordinary life going you were helping.  Not just in a factory, but even managing a checkout counter or driving a truck.

And it was a wonderful opportunity for women to break the mold of limited work choices and the expectation that they would stick to housework.

Bellamarie, if you see the movie, let us know what it's like.

JoanK

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2017, 01:20:18 PM »
Have the book and can't wait for the discussion. I was a (woman, needless to say) computer programmer in the 50s and 60s, so I'm eager to compare these women's experiences to mine.

bellamarie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2017, 02:29:50 PM »
JoanK, I too ushered in technology into our school, a first, and know how exciting it was to be on the ground level of something so new.  Can't wait to read all about these women.

PatH., Well, said, women got an opportunity of a lifetime to break through many different job positions during the war that may never have came to them for many years had it not been for men going off to war.
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

bellamarie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2017, 04:47:06 PM »
Saw the movie today and can't wait to see how the book reads now.  All I can say is I thought the movie was amazing!  I cried, laughed and cheered them on.  A man told me after the movie was over it was his 19th time seeing it and will see it again if it's still on next week.  I love that I will have some faces to put to the names of the characters. 
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Jonathan

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2017, 10:33:19 PM »
Bellamarie, your post brought it all back for me. It's a thrilling movie. I believe everyone in the theater was strangely moved. It had me wishing for the continuous showings of long ago, when we used to sit through a movie twice if we really liked it. I'll be going again. And again. So much science. So much human interest. Such good photography. And all those clever people.

Just to see that segregation sign outside the 'Colored Ladies' coming down was worth the price of admission. And it brought it all back, that amazing race to the moon. Weren't we all glued to our TV's.

Annie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2017, 10:51:38 AM »
I am just starting Chap 3. But I wanted to tell all that my granddaughter and her husband are reading HF out loud, to each other!! They are on Chap 4. With 3 kids around, I wonder where they find the time?😄😄
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

PatH

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2017, 11:13:57 AM »
Nineteen times is a real labor of love, as well as a considerable financial expense. I'm glad the movie is so good.

Part of the fun of this story will be remembering--the excitement of those advances, and what we knew and didn't know at the time.  Let's start with the prologue and the first 6 chapters.  Shetterly has a lot of set-up to do, background to fill in, and issues to address, but by the end we will see Dorothy settling into her first job as a computer.

bellamarie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2017, 01:41:27 PM »
Jonathan, You are so right, when Kevin Costner yanked that sign down off above the bathroom entry I wanted to cry and cheer at the same time. 

I have to admit I was born in 1952, I told my hubby that I really did not realize how bad the blacks had been treated even in the 60's.  I grew up in a small rural town in Michigan and our family had no prejudice.  The first time I was even aware of the way blacks were hated was when my step father's brother from Tenn. came to live with us and he rolled the car window down and called a group of black people the n word.  My mother was horrified and told him he better never let her hear him talk like that again.  My grade school had no black students, my high school did and I became friends with them. One day I joined them in a "black sit out."  Not sure if I was just wanting to get out of class, or wanted to show them support.  They looked at me, the only white student sitting on the grass and asked what was I doing here.  I said, "It's a sit out and I'm joining in."  They laughed at me, afterwards we all got up and went to our next class.  The principal called me into his office and questioned why I was not in class and I told him I was part of the sit out.  He shook his head and told me to go on to my next class. 

I live in Ohio and Senator John Glenn was from Ohio, so his part in this story really brought much pride to me and my hubby. 

PatH.,  For me this is going to be a bit of a history lesson, since I was too young, and uninterested when it was actually happening.  I read the prologue before going to see the movie and thought, oh dear what have I gotten myself into, it all seemed over my head.  Now, after seeing the movie I think it will not seem as intimidating to me. 
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

JoanK

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2017, 05:49:57 PM »
y daughter has been saying and saying she wants to go to the movie with me, but it hasn't happened. I guess i'll miss the experience of sharing it with an audience.

I came out of college in 1954 with my shiny new math degree and was hired as a "computer" by a small research firm. When they got their first real computer later that year, they trained me on it.

bellamarie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2017, 08:30:50 PM »
JoanK.,  You truly were on the groundbreaking of computers.  Did you have an IBM?  I know Apple did not come on the scene until 1976.  The first computer I learned on was a Radio Shack TRS80 Tandy Coco Model which came out in 1980.  I purchased the Coco computer and taught myself, then in 1984 I was offered the pilot program at my kid's Catholic grade school to begin a computer lab.  The principal was a friend of mine, Sr. Myra and she knew less than me.  We called it "our baby" project. 
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Frybabe

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2017, 06:44:58 AM »
My first computer, back in the mid-70s, was a little Timex-Sinclair with an extra 64k, yes 64k, module. Though I don't recall ever winning one, I used to like to play chess on it because I could make a move, go off and do some housework, and then come back for my next move. I forget whether I made my first pantry inventory on it or the next computer.

bellamarie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2017, 10:23:21 AM »
Here is a little info on the very first computers invented. 

http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000984.htm 

JoanK.,  Where were you working when you used your first computer in 1954?
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Annie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2017, 02:05:50 PM »
 My husband and our two sons built our first computer in 1978 and I was their go-get person. I learned a lot of what I knew from reading their magazines.  I would go to the nearest computer store and order what they wanted and bring it back, only hoping I had the right thing. We used that computer for a couple of years (my 15 yr old son even brought it with him when we moved to Atlanta on loan to Lockheed for 6 months in 1980.)It was a home made desktop! Just HUUUUUUGE! Well all the talk was whether to buy TRS-80 or Hewlitt-Packard or several other brands.  We finally bought the Mac Plus! We fell in love with Apple then, have owned 10 different models over the years. My husband was an aeronautical engineer, oldest son, an IT man, and youngest son has his degree in Computer Technology.
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

Mkaren557

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2017, 04:45:27 PM »
At the time this was all taking place, I was a self-absorbed adolescent.  I, of course, knew nothing of these women, a little about the space program and the astronauts, and a passing interest in the Civil Rights Movement.  I did watch the news once in a while and I knew some names of people and events.  I also lived in the state of Maine, minority population in the capital area, one family.  I know there were more minorities in Maine, but I thought that minority meant black.  I, for some reason, whatched the March on Washington in August of 1963, and two days later I left for college at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.  I learned very quickly about racial inequality, violence, hatred, and soon could talk about the Civil Rights Movement.  Everytime my family gets together and we begin talking about a book or movie about the late 50s and the 60's we look at each other and ask, "Where was I when all this was going on?"  The movie Hidden Figures opened my eyes even wider and I have taught history for many years.  I am sure the book will tell me even more.

bellamarie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2017, 07:05:36 PM »
Annie, how exciting it must have been being a part of building your very own desktop computer, and look how it helped your sons to succeed in their future.  When I was teaching Apple computers to my sons class I told them computers would be the way of the world so they need to take the opportunity to learn all they can about them. Today my youngest son works for UPS Logistics creating programs to route Ford Motor Company's vehicles through the railways, saving them millions of dollars.  He has about thirty employees under him and prides himself on hiring young energetic millennials to teach them the knowledge and skills to move up in the company.   I attended an award dinner in his honor this past summer and was talking to his supervisor and men above him and they asked where my son got his knowledge of computers.  I humbly mentioned how I began the computer lab at his grade/jr high school and encouraged him to be very serious about learning technology.  They said, "Well then, we have you to thank for his exceptional work."  When our computer lab got our first Macs we thought it was Christmas day.  I love Apple products and continue to purchase them, only I must admit I finally caved in and bought a Dell computer this past November.

MKaren, I like you was so unaware of what was happening during this time as well.  I think there is so much we have to learn where history is concerned.  Hopefully this book will have even more than the movie for us.
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

PatH

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2017, 07:22:33 PM »
Bellamarie, you should feel very good about your computer mentoring.  You've changed lives, more than you'll know.

That was a really interesting link to early computers.  It's been eons since I thought about the computers that took whole rooms.  And they didn't use transistors, they used vaccuum tubes, which give off a lot of heat, so cooling the rooms was a problem.  Plus tubes burn out and need replacing, so you have to keep checking them.

PatH

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2017, 07:49:27 PM »
Annie, that was exciting building computers.  The closest I ever came was building hi-fi equipment 20 years earlier (anyone remember Heathkits?).

I wasn't any sort of pioneer in computers, like some of you, just used them in minor ways in work.  When I switched labs in 1985, my new lab used Apple computers exclusively (unlike most of NIH) because their molecular modeling (which I didn't use) was superior.  So I cut my teeth on the classic Apple II, with a breathtaking 1 MB of memory, and haven't looked back.  I almost haven't ever used a PC.


PatH

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2017, 08:07:18 PM »
Karen, so you went to college in my home town.  We're almost rivals, since I started at George Washington 13 years earlier.  It changed a lot in those 13 years, and has changed dramatically since.

No one knew about the women in our book then, but as a lifelong science fiction fan, I eagerly followed every bit of the space program.  When the first moon landing occurred, I was out of the country and had no access to TV, so had to console myself with radio broadcasts, but it was still pretty exciting.

JoanK

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2017, 08:25:35 PM »
 didn't realize how early I was in the field. This is a computer I used (from BELLAMARIE's article:

"First delivered to the United States government in 1950, the UNIVAC 1101 or ERA 1101 is considered to be the first computer that was capable of storing and running a program from memory."

{we then upgraded to a larger 1103, but basically the same computer).

The first program I wrote was written in computer language -- a series of long numbers in octal (numbers to the base eight, rather than base 10. I got so used to operating n octal that I bounced a check: working in my checkbook, I added 1 and 7 and got 10, amd thought I had more in my account than I did.

This program produced a table of 100 numbers. It took hours to run, and the output was a mess. IBM cards didn't exit: input and output was on punched paper tape: it took two lines of tape to contain one octal number. The 100  number output from my program produced tape yards long. It fell into a big bin. You tore off the end, rolled it up, and took it to another machine that translated it to paper (another hour's work).

If tou dropped the end of the tape, you were doomed! t would fall in the bin and create a terrible tape snarl, It was usual to go into the computer room and see people untangling yards of paper tape stretching from one end of the room to the other.

Frybabe

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2017, 05:42:38 AM »
Oh, Heathkit. Yes! I built a world radio kit. I was also taking, at the time, a basic electronics correspondence course.

JoanK, I used to know someone who worked with Grace Hopper. Unfortunately, I never pursued my curiosity nor do I remember anything else about her role in early computing. Molly and her husband, Herb, were both quite active and wonderfully curious about many things.  I felt blessed to be able to spend time with them and was terribly sad when they passed away.

PatH

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2017, 11:52:17 AM »
I remember that paper tape.  It was maddening; it would curl up around itself in horrible interlocked loops.  Ugh.

PatH

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2017, 12:06:32 PM »
Today's the first, so we're officially discussing.  I put up a schedule, but we can move it around depending on how we feel.

The first section has a lot of bits and pieces, background and orientation.  To start, let's concentrate on a couple of things.

Things were very different then.  How does what we read fit with your memories (if you were alive then) or with what you know from reading?  How have things changed?

We see Dorothy making a number of important life decisions.  How were her options different from those of a white woman?  From a man? From someone living now?  Would you have made the same decisions?

As usual, we're probably not going to stick to anything formal, but go all over the place.  Questions just serve to get us started.

Annie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2017, 12:07:52 PM »
Would you believe I still have a Heathkit radio and record player in Ralph's workshop? Don't know if he was going to fix it or he just stored it there. He built it in the 1960's. The cabinet is dark brown oak. Was a lovely piece of furniture. We certainly got lots of pleasure from it. I believe he also built a radio receiver that was another Heathkit product.

Do you remember firing up the Macs using floppy disks? I had Word on mine (yes mine) so was able to write our annual Christmas letter with it.  My husband was designing a new air refueling system for his company and he would bring the paper work home and read it out loud to me as I typed it all up. They were getting ready to apply for a patent. Exciting stuff! When he was in the USAF, he was an air refueling specialist.  So designing a new system was right down his alley!
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

PatH

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2017, 12:30:39 PM »
Hmmm.  Wonder if I still have any Heathkits tucked in a corner behind stuff.  Probably not, though I made a number of them, including some for work.

Annie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2017, 02:39:46 PM »
I just sent a link for watching how we got to Mars! And all I could think while watching  was how far we have have come since the HF girls and "computers" like JoanK and PatH and Frybabe wee doing their jobs! Proud of you all!
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

bellamarie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2017, 07:49:52 PM »
Annie, I sure do remember those floppy disks, and now look at us using usb flash drives to store thousands and thousands of pictures and information on them no bigger than a matchbox in size.

Beginning today's discussion the first thing that jumped out at me in the first chapter was how they were in dire need for positions:

pg.  5   (In 1943) With even a modicum of analytical or mechanical skill, hoping for matriculating college students to fill the hundreds o f open positions for computers, scientific aides, model makers, laboratory assistants, and yes, even mathematicians."

Pg. 5 - 6  A. Phillip Randolph, the head of the largest black labor union in the country, demanded that Roosevelt open lucrative war jobs to Negro applicants, threatening in the summer of 1941 to bring on hundred thousand Negros to the nation's capital in protest if the president rebuffed his demand.

With two strokes of a pen__ Executive Order 8802, ordering the desegregation of the defense industry, and Executive Order 9346, creating the Fair Employment Practices Committee to monitor the national project of economic inclusion__Roosevelt primed the pump for a new source of labor  to come to tight production process.  Nearly two years after Randolph's 1941 showdown, as the laboratory's personnel requests reached the civil service, applications of qualified Negro female candidates began filtering in to the Langley Service building presenting themselves for consideration by the laboratory's personnel staff.
 

pg. 8  So, too, was A. Phillip Randolph, The leader's indefatigable activism, unrelenting pressure, and superior organizing skills laid the foundation for what, in the 1960s, would come to be known as the civil rights movement.

Had it not been for A. Phillip Randolph there is the possibility Dorothy, Katherine or Mary would never had the opportunity to apply for theses positions.





"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Annie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #33 on: April 02, 2017, 10:16:18 AM »
Here's that link to incredible How we got to Mars. Its long but watch it to the end!



https://www.youtube.com/embed/XRCIzZHpFtY?rel=0
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

Frybabe

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #34 on: April 02, 2017, 12:08:21 PM »
When the project that became JPL first started out, all of its "computers" were women. When they expanded their operation, again before they became known as JPL, the supervisor and all except for one were women. The man, as I recall, didn't stay around very long.

What time period does Hidden Figures cover?

I watched the video on my computer monitor. I will have to find it on YouTube to watch it on the big screen in HD.

Annie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #35 on: April 02, 2017, 01:05:18 PM »
I think  it started in 1935 with the hiring of "five white women by Langey's first computing pool and by 1946 400 'girls' had already been trained as aeronautical foot soldiers.  Quoting the prologue: "Historian Beverly Golemba, in a 1994 study, estimated that Langley had employed 'serveral hundred' women as human computers.  On the tailend of the research for Hidden Figures, I can now see how that number might tip one thousand."
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

PatH

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #36 on: April 02, 2017, 01:10:33 PM »
And it ends with the moon landing in 1969, except for some of the epilogue.

Annie

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #37 on: April 02, 2017, 02:09:30 PM »
Did you watch the MARS video?  My cousin in LA sent it to me and doesn't know anything about our discussion on SL!  Must be de ja vous? Sp?🤓🤓
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

Frybabe

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #38 on: April 02, 2017, 04:17:19 PM »
So this book focuses on the East Coast gang, and my book focuses on the West Coast gang.

JoanK

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Re: Hidden Figures ~ Margot Lee Shetterly ~ April Book Club Online
« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2017, 07:42:17 PM »
FRY: that's interesting. There were probably other "gangs" throughout the country that we'll never hear about.

I once did some research on "occupations that change sex", and computer programming is an example. I should have added "and race". I knew that the early programmers were women, but had no idea there were Black women,

Were the "west Coast gang black?

Of course, when programming became a prestigious high paying job, the women were replaced by men.

the Degree in Math, which was the entry card for the NAS "computers" became a means of keeping (now white, of course} women out of the field., since few white women hold such a degree. It was always stated as a requirement for the, always waived for men, and never for women. At one point, I was kept at a sub-professional grade, earning half of what the men doing the same work earned. when I complained,  I was told it was because I didn't have a degree in math. I told the supervisor that not only DID I have a degree in math, I was the only one who did. None of the "professional" men I worked with had such a degree. It made no difference, of course, and I left that job.