(Photo: Fox Movies)
In the 2016 drama Hidden Figures, the Space Race gets a set of new faces. It’s 1961 and three African-American women are part of the NASA Space program to launch America’s first series of capsules into space. Katherine G. Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson), is a mathematical protégée and is promoted to the Space Task Group where she works with the calculations of the capsule’s launching and landing using analytic geometry. Dorothy Vaughan (played by Octavia Spence) heads the group of colored women who work at the NASA computer site with an aspiration to become the official supervisor, and Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monáe) is studying to be the first African-American woman engineer at NASA. Together, they go through trying business circumstances and racial barriers in order to do their parts for NASA and advance in their fields.
Beautifully told through smooth cinematography, an enriching score by Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams, and a rich screenplay now nominated for an Academy Award, Hidden Figures is not another story of African-Americans struggling to live in segregated America. It is a long overdue tribute to their contributions to one of America’s greatest achievements.
So, what does this movie mean for us students, staff, and faculty here at Regis? One of the things that the character of director Al Harrison (played by Kevin Costner) emphasizes to his team at the Space Task Group and to Katherine is the importance of having passion for the task at hand. Without a firm sense of passion for the goal of getting a person into space, then true success will be unattainable. This is relevant to one of the Jesuit values: unity of mind and heart. Passion is the state of being to which we can identify as a unity of mind and heart. As a result, a task or project has a better outcome of success if tailored to specific passions or interests. With this understanding of the union of mind and heart comes into any plan or task, then the future accomplishments of everyone here at Regis will be successful and never hidden from the world.
Allison Upchurch Staff Reporter