By Allison McCausland
In keeping with their inaugural theme of working women in America, the Historical Film Series Committee is holding a free screening on Feb. 20 of 2016’s Hidden Figures. The screening is taking place in the Trexler Library’s Air Products Room at 7p.m. with doors opening at 6:30p.m..
The film details the achievements of three African American women working at NASA in the 1960s during the height of the Space Race between the United States and Russia.
The film stars Taraji P. Henson, of Empire fame, as Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions, Octavia Spencer as NASA supervisor Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monáe as NASA engineer Mary Jackson. The screening bears similarity to its previous installment of Norma Rae in showcasing the perseverance of women participating in male dominated fields. This film in particular achieves the intersectional perspective of women of color, during the 1960s no less, being able to break barriers and distinguish themselves in more than one area of equality.
Following the film, a panel of academic experts on various topics the screening showcases will speak about the historical and cultural significance that the story of these women holds. Reprising her panel seat from last semester, committee member and assistant professor in the TV/film department, Esther Duran will discuss the film’s aesthetic and cultural significance.
Joining Duran are assistant professor of the natural science department, Dr. Lara Goudsouzian, and assistant professor of history at Lehigh University, Dr. Natanya Duncan. Duncan also has a specialization in African Diaspora, allowing her to tackle those aspects of the women featured in the film and their achievements.
In addition to the screening being free, there will be free refreshments for the audience, including popcorn. There will also be a raffle during the evening with a door prize giveaway of gift bags with tickets for DeSales University Film Festival in March and “movie munchies.” More information will be provided in the coming weeks as promotional material becomes available online and on campus.