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Hidden Figures: Read the most popular passages from the book

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Hopper Stone/Fox

Hidden Figures, in theaters now, tells the woefully overlooked true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA who made U.S. space travel possible in the ’60s. If you’ve seen the film and want to know more, or if you’re someone — like the movie’s main characters — who just likes to do your homework, it’s worth picking up Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, from which the movie was adapted.

Check out the top highlighted passages below, via Amazon, to see what resonated most with Kindle readers:

  1. “What I wanted was for them to have the grand, sweeping narrative that they deserved, the kind of American history that belongs to the Wright Brothers and the astronauts, to Alexander Hamilton and Martin Luther King Jr. Not told as a separate history, but as a part of the story we all know. Not at the margins, but at the very center, the protagonists of the drama. And not just because they are black, or because they are women, but because they are part of the American epic.”
  2. “How could an American Negro observe the annihilation happening in Europe without identifying it with their own four-century struggle against deprivation, disenfranchisement, slavery, and violence?”
  3. “Through its inability to solve its racial problems, the United States handed the Soviet Union one of the most effective propaganda weapons in their arsenal.”
  4. “Education topped her list of ideals; it was the surest hedge against a world that would require more of her children than white children, and attempt to give them less in return.”
  5. “I can put names to almost fifty black women who worked as computers, mathematicians, engineers, or scientists at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory from 1943 through 1980, and my intuition is that twenty more names can be shaken loose from the archives with more research.”
  6. “As a child, however, I knew so many African Americans working in science, math, and engineering that I thought that’s just what black folks did.”
  7. “Their facilities might be separate, but as far as the West Computers were concerned, they would prove themselves equal or better, having internalized the Negro theorem of needing to be twice as good to get half as far.”
  8. “Even as a professional in an integrated world, I had been the only black woman in enough drawing rooms and boardrooms to have an inkling of the chutzpah it took for an African American woman in a segregated southern workplace to tell her bosses she was sure her calculations would put a man on the Moon.”
  9. “But there was 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 the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory would end at the Moon.”
  10. “Negro life in America was a never-ending series of negotiations: when to fight and when to concede.”