Hidden Figures


.    While growing up (11 years old) in the 1960’s I would hear the names of astronauts John Glen and Neil Armstrong. During the Space Race with Russia, John Glen became the first to orbit the earth in a space shuttle, and Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon. We applauded and celebrated these people, not fully understanding the political, economic and historical implication they presented to that age. I remember my feelings of pride in being an American.
Later in life, I observed the absence of prolific and meaningful publication or literary work concerning my race and ethnicity contributions to the American experience. During a trip to Disney World (the 1980’s) in Florida, while excitement captivated my heart like the evening parade featuring all of my favorite Disney characters marched the Main Street, I notice there were no faces that mirrored mine. There were no black princess or any other characters that looked like me. That sad moment created a caveat of emotions regarding injustice demonstrated by the absence of positive representation of Black people in America.
As a matter of fact, my public school experience never taught black history, but I never thought much of it as I only saw the history and not the faces that coincided. I was systematically and methodically conditioned to believe that only white people developed these great United States and we were marginal and incidental to its shaping.
In the era of Civil Rights movement that demanded the Constitution to carry out its legislation that all people are created equal (that means black people) and the higher the education of blacks in America began to increase we began the journey of excavation of “hidden figures” and “buried figures”. The escalating and their stories brought to the forefront of America’s media a revolution of greater pride. Modern technology and educational systems began to systematically and methodically raise the consciousness of all American’s to the injustice and deliberate strategy of racism to promote that Black American were second class and inferior to white people.
The author of Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly, was a product of the Hampton, Virginia School District. Her father was a Research Engineer for Langley Research (NASA). While growing up she was surrounded by mathematicians, professors, teachers, engineers, and doctors while thinking that was average for all Black Americans (Margo Lee Shetterly, 2017). It was her husband (white) that brought to her attention after hearing stories of a cadre of Afro-American women who contributed to the Space Race saga the usually epics of their story.
Being inspired by her husband’s observation, she began her six-year research on the women who played an extraordinary role in partnership with John Glen, Neil Armstrong and the Space Race and aeronautic excellence. Bringing to the forefront “hidden figures” Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Kathryn Peddrew, Sue Wilder, Eunice Smith or Barbara Holley. The war also opened doors for African-Americans. In 1941, under pressure from labor and civil rights leaders such as A. Phillip Randolph, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, which created the Fair Employment Practices Committee, and prohibited race-based discrimination in the country’s defense industry (Margo Lee Shetterly, 2017). Her book proved to be an inspiring and empowering quintessential literary piece of art. I have extrapolated several thoughts from the 20th Century Fox movie production of Hidden Figures. After rehearsing via reflection of thoughts of my time at a friend’s home in Hampton, Virginia whose, kitchen window view gave me free access to the Langley base and how little we understand the dynamics of our life experience and allow ourselves to relegate them as inconsequential events. How the brain has no color, no gender, no biases, but can operate at full capacity if placed in the right environment and how much of a genius we all are if we would just do the research.
We immerse ourselves in Holy Scriptures that are intended to open our eyes to the beautiful world around us. The glorious work of Jesus who has redeemed us from sin and given us free and unhindered access to the Father should cause us to celebrate in worship His marvelous work in each of us. We truly can do all things through Christ that strengthens us (Philippians 4:13), According to His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3), Jesus’ words are spirit and life (John 6:63) and He came to give you Abundant life, not restrictions on religious practices (John 10:10).
While revival is in the air, let’s shake ourselves from the lukewarmness of complacency, awake from our spiritual comas and move forward to unearth the hidden figures and buried treasures in our lives. Let take to our communities, our nation, and the world the message of Christ while we continue to empower people to be their best and move forward to achieve “good success.” You, my friend, are a “hidden figures.” I decree and declare that you come out of obscurity and charge you to walk in your destiny!

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