Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and the Civil Rights Movement, Margot Lee Shetterly tells the extraordinary true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians known as “human computers.” Formerly 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 the United States’ aeronautics industry was in desperate need of bright and dedicated individuals. Drawing on oral histories, interviews, archival documents, correspondence, and reporting from the era, Shetterly interweaves a rich history of scientific accomplishment and technological innovation with the intimate and inspiring stories of five women whose work forever changed the world.