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Special showing of ‘Hidden Figures’ at Danville Cinemas Saturday

CITIZENS CONCERNED FOR HUMAN RELATIONS

News release

There will be a special showing of the movie “Hidden Figures” at Danville Cinemas 8 at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan 14, with a discussion following at Mallard’s. Admission is $1 for students and $2 for adults. This is sponsored by Citizens Concerned for Human Relations with cooperation from the Boyle County section of Girls Who Code and Girls in Engineering, Math and Science.

The new movie, “Hidden Figures” tells the story of amazingly strong, intelligent, African-American women who made important contributions to the US space program. They built on the work of earlier women who had made their own impact on the success of airplane design at Langley Air Force base before and during World War II. They did this in spite of restrictive segregation laws and reluctance by their supervisors to recognize them as mathematicians and engineers instead of mere “human computers.”

They were aided in their progress by families and teachers who had high expectations of them as well as by access to historically black colleges where they got educations that prepared them to step up when they had the opportunity.

In commenting on her experience in Hampton, Virginia, where she grew up, the author of the book on which the movie is based, Margo Shetterly, wrote in her introduction: “As a child, however, I knew so many African-Americans working in science, math and engineering that I thought that’s just what black folks did.”

What a remarkable statement! At a time when there are numerous efforts to diversify the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, young people and their parents need to see the story of these remarkable role models.

These fields are not for everyone and we certainly need well-educated citizens with a wide range of interests. However, this hitherto untold story reminds us that everyone must have the encouragement and opportunity to develop their talents and pursue their dreams. Given the challenges this world faces, we can’t afford to waste any human potential.