Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday Musings-Hidden Figures

Official trailer for Hidden Figures.

Last week I went to see the movie Hidden Figures.
Such a wonderful movie.
Funny in places.
Telling the true story of three genius women at NASA in the 60's.
I think I'll go back and see it again.
Maybe this time I won't leave the theater in tears.

These women were African American in the 1960's.
Being a woman in Engineering, Math or Computer Science would have been trying enough.
Getting respect hard.
ON top of that these woman and countless others at NASA during this time had to 
Walk to a "Colored" restroom-not allowed in any others and there was only one.
Ate in the "Colored" lunch room.
Drank from "Colored" drinking fountains and coffee pots.
Fought for promotions, and were paid less.
They worked hard, very hard.
I cried for two reasons:
1.  In sorrow for the loss of all the brilliant minds just because the color of their skin wasn't like mine.
2.  In fear that we are headed back to those times.
There was a Black woman seated near me-there were only about 8 people in the audience that weekday afternoon-and I said to her "I don't ever want to go back to that!'
Tears rolling down my face.
She comforted me saying "We won't, we've come too far" then she hugged me.
A total stranger.
I wish I knew her.

I was only 12 when John Glenn orbited the earth. 
I remember it because they let us watch the space shots on TV instead of having class.
I've tried and tried to remember African Americans of that time.
I lived in a mostly white suburb of Kansas City, I never met a "Colored" person.
There were no "Colored" children in any of my schools.
Seriously, I don't remember anything.
I must have been oblivious to any kind of news or lives outside mine
because in May of 1968 at the age of 17 I had never heard of Dr Martin Luther King until he
was killed.
I feel somehow complicit in that history.

There's no hope for me to see it without tears, I'm crying now.

1 comment:

a good yarn said...

Take heart. Your people have come too far to go backwards.In a population of your size it's easy to feel as though those who are intolerant outnumber those who aren't. So glad you enjoyed the film and I bet those who made it would be well pleased to learn that it elicited such an emotional response. I'd like to see it too. Weren't they clever and although not directly, I'm sure their achievements inspired others. We had some children of ethnic backgrounds in my primary (elementary) school - Italian, Greek, Egyptian and even North African (Moroccan I think). I don't recall them being singled out as being different. I was raised to treat folks equally until they behave otherwise. Autralia's slave workers were predominantly Irish and English to start with; then they brought Islanders over to work the sugar cane fields.