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tv   Hidden Figures  CSPAN  December 28, 2016 10:11pm-11:17pm EST

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genes with other bacteria or they're getting into other genes and they become part of this pool of resistant bacteria. we put so many antibiotics into these animals that it's a tremendous factor in the rise of antibiotic resistance. that's how it happens, and that's why we need to put a break on it. >> thank you. >> i have a question. you are saying it's in aboutch 50%, 40% okay i'll change the question a little bit. if you look at, since it's so prevalent, the species that do not end up getting it, why do they not end up getting it? >> that's a really good question. i don't think we have a good answer to that yet. we are still trying to understand what is it that makes
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it so good at spreading from host to host and why is it in some hosts and not in others. why is it not in any of us are fisher mammals. it is in some worms which come from a very different branch of the animal kingdom. perhaps also interesting to us because those worms kill diseases and if you go back there you might be able to kill those diseases, that's a different story, but there's a lot of biology that we don't understand. like why is it so good at jumping from host to host? is it just because it spreads vertically throughout the population like i talked about with mosquitoes? is it also because it's so good at jumping horizontally from one host to another. yes, these are all questions but there's actually a conference
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that happens every couple years or so.o. it's a very thriving area ofa lf research. >> so we have gone from cow poop to slime molds and fecal transplant and back again. thank you all for coming. >> thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversation] >> that was ed young talking about multitudes. i'm review editor of publisher
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weekly. tonight on c-span2 we are talking about publisher weeklies best books of 2016 and these are a few of our selections. up next, an amazing book from the heights of the space age and it's called hidden figures. the story of the first group of black female mathematicians hired in a virginia laboratory under the heights of jim crow laws. >> tonight you will hear the author of hidden figures. [applause] , the american dream and the untold story of the black women mathematicians that helped win the space race. she will share her journey about writing this remarkable story that combines the rich intersection of the civil rights era, the space race, the cold war and the movement for gender equality. in anthropologist with an
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admiration of history, what happened with nasa on this date. september 8, 1967, the surveyor launched. september 8, 1983 and today september 8, 2016 margot lee shetterly publicly launches her book hidden figure. [applause] a little bit on margot. many of you know her or went to school with her and said they were on the tennis team with her on high school and couldn't wait to see her again. she was born and raised right here in hampton virginia. she graduated from the university of virginia with a
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degree in finance. a journalist, independent researcher, entrepreneur and cocreator of an english monthly magazine inside mexico with her husband aaron. she is the daughter of one of the first nasa blackmail engineers. she grew up knowing many of the women in hidden figures. she is the founder of the human computer project and alfred p sloan fellow and recipient of the virginia foundation for humanities grant. she lives in charlottesville virginia. she said that anonymous in history was usually a woman. let me say that again. anonymous in history was usually a woman. tonight these brilliant women are anonymous no more thanks to margot and her book hidden figures. may the names of catherine johnson, dorothy vann, mary jackson, actor christine darden and the other women who contributed to the space race and change the course of history
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finally receive their due. now we gave a few housekeeping notes and i want to remind everyone that her talk is going to be here but the book signing will take place at the hampton history museum "after words" in the great hall. we'll walk back across the street and so c-span asked me to say that because they are filming, they ask for more no flash photography. if you want to take a picture please turn your flash off. please remember remember to silence your phone. again, i welcome you on behalf of the hampton history museum and they invite you to make history with us. tonight margot is doing just that, making history. it is is with great pleasure and honor that i introduce my friend margot lee shetterly. [applause]
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deidra, thank you you so much for that amazing introduction. thank you to the hampton history museum which has been incredibly supportive of this research since the very beginning. i can't think of anyplace better to publicly launch this endeavor than here in hampton virginia, my hometown with my home people, and thank you so much for coming out here tonight. it is actually sort of a wonderful thing that this venue, the speech that i'm giving now is taking place here at saint john's in a church because it really started six years ago also in his church here in downtown hampton. the first baptist church, my
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home church where i grew up and i was sitting in a pew with my parents robert and margaret lee who are here and my husband and we were interviewing a former sunday school teacher of mine about her career as a mathematician at the research center. none of us had an idea at the time that that first interview would turn into all of this, this hidden figures, the book, my first book and a movie, but as exciting as it's been to receive that level of enthusiasm, the most gratifying thing for me about these past few years has been learning about my hometown. there is so much that i didn't know, and so much that i didn't know about the people who lived here, the people who i knew growing up here. writing this book for me has been a way of telling my story
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and tracing my path from the lives of these groundbreaking women. this is my history, this is your history. this history belongs to all of us. the thrilling part, the mundane part, the hard part and the painful part. all of this has made us who we are today. and so, the fact that we are here in this church across from the hampton history museum which sponsored this event, we are so close to hampton university to the langley research center, to the archaeological remains of the grand contraband camp which was the first atomic black settlement in the united states, it simply couldn't be a more fitting venue. hidden figures follows the lives of four african-american women, dorothy vann, mary mary jackson, catherine johnson and christine darden who is here.
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[applause] i am so pleased also to let you know that many of the family members of dorothy and mary, and i believe mrs. johnson are here as well as gloria who is a part of my book, and many other women who worked with them and men who worked with them over at the langley research center. thank you so much for coming and if you see them in the crowd tonight, definitely, i think i see sharon back there, i am just so thrilled that these women who actually lived the history so i could write it are here. so many of us gathered here, we knew these women, we were raised by them or lived with them were worshiped with them or socialized with them worked hot by them or worked with them, and i'm sure you will agree with me
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when you say we have learned a tremendous amount from them. so many lessons from these women, from their lives. i have a list that can fill another book with the things that i have learned from them researching their lives, but one of the most timely, i think, and the one that i would like to emphasize tonight is the following, never allow fear to get the best of curiosity and imagination. sending humans into space is an inherent risky endeavor. it takes a powerful imagination to believe that it's possible to land humans on the mood and to bring them back safely. but that adventure, 11 of humanity's greatest had its roots right here in hampton virginia. that a black woman could do some of the calculations to get them there, given the time that might've taken even more imagination to come to fruition,
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but that happened as well as we know that catherine johnson has received from the work that she did on the mercury and apollo missions, most notably on john glenn's groundbreaking flight in 1962. people from the brown the united states, indeed indeed from around the world came to work at langley. these women worked alongside people of all backgrounds and they achieved together things that even today, 47 years later we have to stop and marble. it's incredible what is possible when you take the best minds among us and allow their imagination to run free. the narrative of hidden figures is pulled through the eyes of these four african-american women and it was my mission to use the stories of their lives to tell other stories of world war ii, how it transformed our
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city, of the ancient days of the cold war, of the hope and the conflict of the civil rights movement, and of the great strides that all women have made legally, socially and economically over the course of the 20th century. scores of black women worked as mathematicians at langley and other national installations around the country. there were so many names. sue wilder, eunice smith, barbara holly, christine ritchie , irma kinds, there were so many of them, more than i could ever include in this book, but those women were part of a load larger cohort of women. white women like marjorie hanna, dorothy lee, beer vera, mary, barbara, and these women were valedictorians, they were math
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and science competition winners, they were very smart women and until they came to langley, they thought they would put their masters degrees to work in a classroom. they have also received a fraction of the credit they deserve. women work together with white colleagues to create opportunities for talented women of all backgrounds. an organization that i started called the human computer project, in trying to recover the names of all the women who worked as computer is, mathematicians in engineers of the early days of nasa, not just that langley but at all of the installations over the years. tonight i would just like to encourage you to get in touch with me if there's a contact form on my website margot lee you can get in touch with the
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museum, but if you know the name of women who were your grandmother's or mothers, on's, colleagues, colleagues, friends, ladies you knew from church, your neighbors please let me know because i would really like to have all of their names so none of these women are in the shadows anymore. now, all good stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. i already knew the end. i am the result of this wonderful history that happened here in hampton virginia. my father is retired, my mother is a retired hampton university professor. i am the proud product of integrated city schools and i graduated from the university of virginia which now accepts men and women from all backgrounds,
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but that first meeting six years ago led me to ask the question how did this all began? how did she and catherine johnson and the many other women that i remember from my childhood and up working at nasa, of all places. many people know the story of the space program which was gaining momentum at it time that a young preacher from atlanta was taking center stage and what was then becoming known as the civil rights movement. fewer people know that while the start of the space program, hampton was the first center for aeronautical research and development. fewer people know that before doctor king, a civil rights leader named philip randolph led a campaign to ban discrimination against african-americans, something that also benefited
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mexicans, jews, catholics, many other people who had been left out of the new jobs that were coming about as a result of world war ii. in may 1943, almost two years after franklin roosevelt's executive order, five black women started jobs working as mathematicians at the langley memorial aeronautical laboratory so what i would like to do right now is read from the first chapter of my book, hidden figures. this is how the story begins. as i'm reading, remember it all happened here in hampton virginia. >> chapter 1, a a door opens. melvin butler, the personnel officer at the langley memorial repertory had a problem. the scope and nature was made plain in a telegram with civil
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service chief field operation. this establishment has urgent need for approximately 100 junior mathematicians. one hundred assistant computer is, 75 minor arbitrary apprentices, 125 helper trainees, 30 stenographers and typists. every morning at 7:00 a.m., the bowtied butler and his staff bring to life the station wagon to the rail station in the bus station and the ferry terminal to collect the men and women. so many women each day. more women who had made their way to the lonely plant on the virginia coast. the shadow conveyed the recruits to the door of the laboratory service building on the campus of langley field. upstairs, butler staff whisked them through the first aid station, forms, photos and the oath of office. i will support and defend the constitution of the united
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states against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help me god. the civil servants stand out to take their places in one of the research facilities expanding buildings each full as a pod ripe with peace. no sooner had the laboratories had a procurement set the final brick on a new building than his brother set about filling it with new employees. someone came up with the bright idea of putting two desks head-to-head and jury rigging a new piece of furniture in order to fit three workers in a space design for two. in the four years since hitler's troops overran poland and american interest in the european war converged in conflict, the laboratory complement of 500 odd employees at the close of the decade was
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on its way to 1500, yet the great war machines swallowed them whole and left them hungry for more. they looked out on this crescent-shaped airfield. only the flow of civilian clothes people heading to the laboratory laboratory, distinguished brick holdings. this two installations had grown up together. the airbase was dedicated to the military air power capability and the laboratory was a civilian agency charged with advancing scientific understanding of aeronautics and disseminating its findings to the military and private industry. since the beginning, the army had allowed the laboratory to operate on the campus of the airfield. in close relationship with the army flyers that served as a
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constant reminder to the engineers that every experiment they conducted had real world implications. the double hanger 210-foot long buildings standing side-by-side had been covered in camouflage tape in 1942 to deceive enemy eyes. it's shady interior sheltering the machines from the element. then and jumpsuits and groups they moved stopping to hover at this wonder that one like pollinating insects, checking them filling them with gas, replacing parts, examining them, becoming one with them and taking off of the heavens for the music of airplane engines and propellers cycling through the various movements that take off, flight and landing played from before sunrise until dust. each machine sound as unique to its founders as a baby cry to its mother.
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then was the base were of the laboratory wind tunnel turning it on demand hurricanes onto the plane. plane parts, model planes, full-size planes. just two years prior with storm clouds gathering, president roosevelt challenged the nation to ramp up the production of airplanes to 50000. year. it seemed an impossible task for an industry but as recently as 1938 had only provided army air corps with 90 planes. month. now america's aircraft industry was a production miracle easily surpassing by more than half. it had become the largest industry in the world. the most productive, the most sophisticated, out producing the germans by more than three times and the japanese by nearly five. the facts were clear to all, the final conquest would come.
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airplanes were mechanisms for transporting troops and supplies, armed wings for pursuing enemies, launching pads for ship sinking bombs. they reviewed their vehicles before climbing in. mechanics rolled up their sleeves and sharpened their eyes a faulty fuel tank light, any one of these could cost lives. even before the plane responded to its pilots, its nature, it's very dna from the shape of its wing to its engine had been manipulated, refined, massaged, and deconstructed and recombined by the engineers next door. long before america's manufacturer's placed one of the newly conceived machines into production, they sent a working prototype to the langley laboratory so the design can be tested and approved. nearly every high-performance aircraft model in the united
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states made its way to the lab here in virginia. the engineers parked the planes in the wind tunnels making note of air disturbing surfaces, loaded fuselages, uneven wing geometry. they examined every aspect of the air flowing over the plane making careful note of the signs. any test pilot with the riding shotgun, did it roll unexpectedly, did install, wasn't hard to remove her like a shopping cart with a bad wheel? the engineers tested the airplanes, recommending improvement. some slight and other significant and even small improvements in speed and efficiency added up to a difference that could tip the long-term balance of the war. victory through airpower this is
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a reminder of the importance of the airplane to the wars outcome they minded each decimal point poring over equations and distribution charts until their eyes tired and the battle of research, victory would be theirs. in less of course, melvin butler failed to see the operation with fresh mind. the engineers were one thing, but each engineer require the support of a number of others. craftsmen to build the air machine, mechanics and number crunchers. lift and drag ,-comma what was the plane but a bundle of physics. physics meant math and math
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meant mathematicians. since the middle of the last decade, mathematicians had met women. langley's first female computing pool started in 1935 and caused some uproar with the men of the laboratory. and how could a female mind process something so rigorous and precise as math? the very idea, investing $500 on a calculating machine show it could be used by a girl, but the girls had been good, very good, better at computing than many of the engineers spread the men themselves grudgingly admitted. with only a handful of girls winning the title of mathematician, a professional designation that put them on equal footing with entry-level males, the fact that most males were designated as lower paid provided a boost in the bottom line.
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in 1943, the girls were harder to come by. virginia tucker, the head computers ran laps up and down the east coast searching for coeds with even some skills. she had entire classes of math graduates from her north carolina college for women and she hunted at virginia schools and the state teachers college in farmville. he leaned on the civil commission as hard as he could so the laboratory might get top priority on the limited pool of qualified applicants. he penned ads for the newspaper the daily press.
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reduce your household duty. women who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and do jobs previously filled by man should call the langley memorial aeronautical laboratory read one ad. are there members of your family or others you know who would like to play a part in gaining supremacy of the air? have your friends of eve either sex who would like to do important work towards winning and shortening the war? with men being absorbed into the military services, with women already in demand by eager employers, the labor market was as exhausted as the war workers themselves. a bright spot presented itself in the form of another man's problem. a philip randolph, the head of the largest black labor union in the country demanded that roosevelt open lucrative war jobs to nigro applicants, threatening in the summer of 1941 to bring 100,000 negroes to
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the capital in protest if the president refused his demand. who the hell is this guy randolph. roosevelt blinked. a tall portly black man with shakespearean diction, close friend of eleanor roosevelt headed to 35 thousandths strong. the porters waited feeling prejudice and humiliation from whites. nevertheless, these jobs were coveted in the black community because they provided economic stability and social standing. believing that civil rights were linked to economic rights, randolph fought tirelessly for the rights for americans to participate fairly in the country they had helped build. twenty years in the future, randolph would attract multitudes at another march on
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washington and concede the stage to martin luther king jr. later generations would associate the black freedom movement but in 1941, as the, as the united states oriented every aspect of its society toward war for the second time in less than 30 years, it was randolph long-term vision and the march that never happened that pried open the door that have been closed like a bank vault since the end of reconstruction. with two strokes of the pen, executive order 802 ordering the desegregation of the defense industry, and executive order 9346 creating the fair employment practices committee to monitor the national project of economic inclusion, roosevelt prime the pump for a new source of labor to come into the production process. nearly two years after the 1941
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showdown the laboratory. [inaudible] applicants of female negro candidates began filtering in for consideration. no photo for the applicant's color. that was implemented and struck down at the roosevelt administration tried to dismantle discrimination in hiring practices put. but they tipped their hand. west virginia state university. [inaudible] hampton institute, just across town, all nigro school. nothing indicated anything less than fitness for the job. if anything, they came to the job with more experience than the white women applicants after having had many years of teaching experience on top of math and science degrees.
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they would need a separate space then they would have to.someone to had the new group, an experienced girl, white, someone's whose disposition cents suited the sensitivity of the assignment. the warehouse building, a brand-new space on the west side of the laboratory was a part of campus that was still more wilderness than anything resembling a workplace to be just the thing. his brothers group had already moved there as the employees and personnel departments. with round-the-clock pressure to test the airplanes queued up in the hangar, engineers would welcome the additional hands. so many of the engineers were northerners, agnostic on the racial issue but devout when it came to mathematical talent. butler himself required no imagination on his part to get what some of his fellow virginians might think of the idea of integrating negro women into langley offices to come
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here and there strange ways be damned. dad always been negro employees in the lab. janitors, cafeteria uighurs workers, assistants, groundskeepers. opening the door to a new profession, that was something new. he proceeded with discretion. no big announcement in the daily press, no fanfare, but he also proceeded with direction. nothing to herald the arrival of women to the laboratory, but nothing to derail the arrival either. maybe melvin butler was a progressive first time in space or maybe he was just carrying out his duty. state law and virginia customs kept him from truly progressive action. perhaps the promise of a segregated office is just the cover he needed to get the black women in the door. the trojan horse of segregation opening the door. whatever his personal feelings were on race, one thing is clear
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, he was a langley man through and through. loyal to the laboratory, to his mission, to its worldview and to its charge during the war. by nature and by mandate, he and the rest of the naca were all about practical solutions. so too was philip randolph heard the activism, unrelenting pressure and organizing skills laid the foundation for what would come to be known as the civil rights movement. there is no way that randolph or the men at the laboratory or anyone else could have predicted that the hiring of a group of black female mathematicians at low langley laboratory would end at the moon. still shrouded from view where the great aeronautical advances that would crush the notion was a physical impossibility. the electronic calculating devices that would amplify the power of science and technology to unthinkable dimensions, no
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one anticipated that millions of wartime women would refuse to leave the american workplace and forever change the meaning of women's work or that american negroes would persist in their demand for full access, the sounding ideals of their country and not be moved. the black female mathematicians who walked into langley in 1943 defined themselves at the intersection of these great transformations. their sharp minds and ambitions contributing to what the u.s. would consider one of its greatest u.s. victories. in 1943, america existed in the urgent presence, responding to the needs of the here and now, butler took the next step adding another item to a seemingly endless requisition list. assigned bearing the word colored girls.
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[applause] >> that's how the story begins. i won't tell you everything about the story except that the americans finally do get to the moon, but everything that happens in between, hopefully you will enjoy reading that so i thought it might be interesting to open the floor to any questions that you might have at this time. >> if you could raise your hands , the microphone will come to you so we can hear you. >> the thing with the civil
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services that pay depended on your grade. the issue was getting hired into that level so it wasn't always the case that the black women were hired in at the same level so there were actually, in the very beginning, some women such as dorothy vann who was hired in at a p1 level which was equivalent of many male engineers so there were definitely exceptions, but in general, most of the women, black, white or other otherwise were paid less than men.
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>> margo i am so fascinated by your research and productivity. i had a question about the book we could not fail. you were able to use that to? i'm just finding some fascinating things about them how george carruthers, the black guy who had all the sophisticated inventions of the camera that allowed us to see the moon, and i'm just so proud of you. >> thank you. yes, there's a book that came out last year that was called we could not fail and it tells the story of many of the african-american engineers who worked at the marshall state center. there are is also a book that came out called rise of the rocket girls which tells the story of a group of women who worked at the jet propulsion
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laboratory which is now part of langley, or part of nasa out in pasadena california during world war ii. i think it's really exciting that a lot of these stories of people who have worked in the space program and worked in aeronautics for a very long time are starting to come to light right now, and that's another book that tells that story. >> margot, i too am very proud, but when you were writing the book or researching it, what was the one, if you can think of it, most surprising anecdote or nugget that you came across in the stories? >> there were so many, there were just so many. for example, there was a cold war thai to langley. there was an engineer who had worked here at langley, i think
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he left in 1946 to go to the ames laboratory, but he was connected with the famous rosenberg case, if you remember they were executed for spying for the russians, and an engineer who had worked here at langley was actually put on trial and convicted of perjury, but the government had charged him with passing secrets to the russians and so, the research on that was fascinating because the fbi came to hampton, they not on people's doors, they were investigating this whole situation thinking that people were communists so that was another very surprising link that hampton virginia had to this great global struggle between the united states and
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the russians. what is the riskiest thing you have done or kind of parallel to that, would you be brave enough to go into space also? would you be an astronaut if you didn't have to do any other homework but you could just go based on all the math that has been done before us? >> the question is ,-comma what i want to go into space. i kind of really like the earth. although, i must say i really do think the work that nasa does and is continuing to do is really important and i think that it's interesting and very exciting that nasa is pushing
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forward to go to mars, i think that's really exciting, one, one of the other things is the resurrecting some of the work that was pioneered in terms of supersonic transport planes. i think that's great and that's happening right here at langley. i might not be the first passenger for mars one, but i think the fact that that work is continuing is very important and very exciting. how did you go from finishing the book to the movie, how did that happen? >> that is a very interesting question. the thing about this project is from the very beginning people have responded to it very strongly with a great deal of
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enthusiasm which completely has to do with the strength of the women and the fact that there were so many women, this wasn't a story of one women or even five women but there is this group of scores of black women and the group of women was probably from the 1930s until the 1980s, let's say, was more than a thousand. i think the idea that this thought of women not being able to do math, it's just a natural that people respond to it. what happened as my literary agent, after finding a publisher publisher for the book, got the book proposal into the hands of a producer who saw it was blown away by the fact that she hadn't heard the story, and other since , i've been running to
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catch up. the thing that is so exciting for me about that is that i am so happy there is so much enthusiasm for the book but i know there will be an even greater audience for this history because of this movie. it's been a ride, for sure. >> after world war ii, many women in the industry were let go to make room for returning servicemen. to what extent did that happen at langley and was their differential between whites and african americans, and in some women continue on and have successful careers at langley and rise up through the ranks and responsibility? >> yes, so it was really
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interesting. i had access to all of the employee newsletters from 1942 through the present and the newsletters were constantly reporting what was happening in terms of recruiting, in terms of the reduction in force, but from what i can tell, right after the war there was a cutback slated at langley and at the end of the day, they made a cut of only 30 employees. it seems that enough people, after the war returned home, left their job, they only had to cut 30 people. but then in the next 12 months, 18 months, something like that, they started they started recruiting again and looking particularly for more women to do the computing. so that really coincided with 1946, 1947 with commands in the army being consolidated at fort monroe, command being
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consolidated at langley, the naval base so this entire region after the war, there was a lot of speculation after world war i that this area would go through a tremendous depression so i saw so many newspaper articles of people speculating things concerned about that, and what happened is that the cold war started and hampton roads turned into one of the centers of what we call the military-industrial complex which lasted for a very long time and langley went along with that. it did not seem, from my research that there was a differential in the layoff between the white women in the black women, and the word seem to get around even after the peak of world war ii and a lot of black churches and the
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lounges of black high schools that there is this amazing job for black women at langley who had masters degrees. >> let me say congratulations and again i know mom and dad are proud as i spoke to your mom. we are all very proud. have you gotten a chance to view the whole movie, and my my question is, if you have, is it accurate? i'm a historian when people see things on the screen they take it as the gospel truth so i need to know what i'm looking for. >> that's the question that everybody wants to know. i have not seen the whole movie. they are still working on it. they are working on it record time because they are excited about it and they want to make
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sure that it is in the theaters, definitely by january and possibly early previews in december so they are still working on it. the thing for me, working working on the book and the movie at the same time is i kind of had to let go of the fact that i was writing a nonfiction book that took place over 30 years of history versus a movie that had to get people into the theaters, tell the story, capture the essence of it, hit the highlights, get into space and come home safely into hours. i talked pretty closely with the people who are the producers of the movie, and in the beginning i had a hard time understanding, we basically can't film a book. it is inspired by true expense.
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: and set up the entire book. first of all, i want to congratulate you in bringing so many people together from your
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research. i am really happy to be here because it brings so many people together in a way that they had no idea they were connected because dorothy vaughan used to serve dinner and provide food for starving students from hampton institute. and so would have known back then what she was all about of course we all knew she was a smart lady, and she raised all of these amazing children. but i'm sitting next to people who are not only connected to the people that are in your story, that are in this book, but also people that are connected to do, that are connected to meet.
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and this person sitting next to me and this person sitting over here. and they had a connection to each other had it not been for your book an buck and research,e just realized that through conversation, through passion for research and history and making that anonymous, we are so connected and i just thank you for doing that. for providing another way for us to realize that we are all connected. that's the part of your story that brings us a loud and clear for me. and i guarantee if we asked everybody to raise their hand, who is connected to somebody, because of your buck everybody would raise their hand.
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[applause] i just want to thank you also for bringing us all together. we are the winston jackson clan and we've come together to help you support your buck. so, thank you. and i also want to ask will there be a premiere here in hampton for the movie box. [applause] >> that is the question. i think nasa has been so supportive of the project not just from the langley research center from the beginning. i cannot thank them enough for what they have done for this
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book. people have also been very supportive. they are very interested in doing what they can to make sure this community, which is the core of the story has a chance to participate in the exciteme excitement. and it seems our friends and relatives up on the screen. i don't know the details of that, but i do know that is something that everyone is very interested in making sure this community is participating. >> it happened at first baptist church, and the discussion or the idea came into your head when your sunday school teacher was mentioned. what specifically that they the
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lightbulb went off and this is the story because if she is your sunday school teacher and you worship together growing up, you knew her basically. my husband and i were here visiting my parents in december, 2010. we went to church this sunday and met and spoke with my former sunday school teacher. we were talking about her and the conversation turned to some of the other women that worked with nasa that he'd worked with and somhim some of the work the. these are the stories i heard and when you are from here, you don't really think about it.
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my husband was like hold on a second, wait. can you please tell me this story again, how come i never heard of the story. you take it for granted that neighbors and the talent but they are and the things that's happened. it forces me to appreciate the community that i grew up in and then ask the question why are thosthose one in there and thats what happened. [applause]
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will you be speaking there in the world would be published at the bookstore and well any of you be at the museum anytime? >> i didn't hear the first part of the question. >> i am still working through a lot of the details where i'm going to be, and i'm hoping that washington, d.c. will be among them i know that your background is in media financing of journalism what was your experience diving into history? >> this is a question from my historian friends. as someone that had a background
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in business i studied finance in college. what was my experience in history lack? i loved it and a lot of people think so many of these things are separate. business is separate from science and humanities and these are all so different that it's not possible for the same people to have those interests. i never thought of my somebody as business and finance and entrepreneurship of the skills that i learned working in the business wor for analysis skilld writing skills and certainly helped me a lot in this process, but i loved every minute of it.
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>> i would like to give u you ts that story with john glenn. >> the question was a request to recount a well-known anecdote that has to do with this particular history it was controlled many times per history of cathy johnson and her role in the orbital mission of john glenn's life that kept the balance in the race between the united states and the soviet union.
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it's what we think of as a piece of electronic hardware. when these electronic computers started coming into being used more widely. it was to figure out how to understand how they are so for a long time most of the aeronautical research even into the early part of these programs were done by the women in the book that first got langley and all of the nasa standards and
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they were working on the space program calculating the trajectory of how are we going to take this man and blast him into space around the earth. her group is responsible for calculating those trajectories but the point at which the mission transformed from a simple trajectory and comes back like that and circled the entire earth and required a much higher level of communications and computer technologies.
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that was one of the glorious tribes in the earlier days that setting up the tracking stations around the earth in order to track this man in the spaceship as he circulated overhead. this was a real moment in the old-school computing done by a roomful of women. there was a roomful of computers tharoom full ofcomputers that wy have the computing power necessary to track the satellite of the earth with a man inside
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and get him home safely. they had to know this was a mission i was going to be successful in a and as safe as possible. among them was getting catherine johnson who had authored the report in 1959 the sort of laying out the original and gripping beats trajectories of how you send a man in orbit around earth. she was asked to compute by hand the same numbers that the computer the data that the computer had.
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but different numbers to show that the agreement which was the word from the research report. [applause] >> all of the women who worked there at the time were called girls and so she was a girl that worked for this particular brainy fellows, get the girls to do it and if they check the numbers and her numbers check out with with the computer outputs, then thumbs up, let's go. so that was the anecdote and an amazing story.
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speeten >> the imagination before fear i think that is one of the really important lessons that i learned from the book. another one, and this is something you asked catherine johnson and you say how is it possible for you in this work environment that still have segregated bathrooms and cafeterias and all these things are still happening when a woman may not have been able to get a credit card in her own name how were you able to do the work and tell your bosses that you are confident and bring them home
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safely it seems that the law to ask and it goes back to what my father said to me. you are no better than anyone else and no one is better than you are. [applause] i've spent more time thinking about fat van any other thing she said because this is one of those things that seems very simple and it's one of the most profound things. this gives us the confidence to walk into a situation with people who may be different than we are and to feel confident we can hold our heads


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