Read this month's chosen title, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (the nonfiction book upon which the new movie was based), and then come hang out with fellow book lovers at Cameron Branch on April 29th to discuss the book with a BPL librarian.
Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America's aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley's all-black "West Computing" group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.
The book club is free, but space is limited. Please register online, or call or visit the information desk at any BPL branch. Bring a copy of your registration confirmation email to the Cameron Branch to pick up your copy of the book.
We will be meeting in the Willow Room in the Cameron Recreation Complex.
Our next meetings will be Saturday May 20 and June 17, from 3-4:30 pm.
Questions? Call 604-421-5454.