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Film About the African-American Women Who Won the Space Race in Development

Step aside, Buzz Aldrin.


When we learn about the Space Race we mostly hear about Alan Shepard, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and other white men. What about Katherine Johnson? Mary Jackson? A film about the first group of black women mathematicians at NASA is now in the works to tell the story of Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Kathryn Peddrew, Sue Wilder, Eunice Smith and Barbara Holley, engineers who made the moon landing happen while confronting segregation in the United States at the same time.

The film is an adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures with producer Donna Gigliotti, director Ted Melfi, and screenwriter Allison Schroeder. Casting is looking towards Oscar winners and nominees like Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Oprah Winfrey, and Taraji P. Henson.

The role that African-American women played in the Space Race is highly overlooked and erased. Shetterly says on her blog:

Hidden Figures recovers the history of these pioneering women and situates it in the intersection of the defining movements of the American century: the Cold War, the Space Race, the Civil Rights movement and the quest for gender equality….Though they did the same work as the white women hired at the time, they were cloistered away in their own segregated office in the West Area of the Langley campus– thus the moniker, the West Computers. But despite the hardships of working under Virginia’s Jim Crow laws, these women went on to make significant contributions to aeronautics, astronautics, and America’s victory over the Soviet Union in the Space Race.

Fox 2000 is in talks to secure the project and hope to blast-off by early next year.

(via Indiewire)

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