The best-selling book Hidden Figures, along with the Oscar-nominated film of the same name, has inspired people around the world through the story of three brilliant African-American women who played a role in America’s race to space. West Virginia University chose Hidden Figures as the 2017-18 Campus Read and faculty and staff have organized multiple events to continue the conversation outside of the classroom and engage the community.
“Two of the main characters, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan, have ties to Morgantown, so this is an excellent opportunity to explore local history as well as issues of desegregation, women in the sciences and other 'hidden figures’ today,” said Susan Jennings Lantz, director of the WVU Campus Read. “The campus has embraced this book and developed incredibly creative programming that will bring this story to life in a variety of ways.”
One of the signature events will be “Hidden Histories: WVU and the West Virginia Connections to Hidden Figures” on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Mountainlair. This panel discussion features Marjorie Fuller, director of the Center for Black Culture and Research; Carroll Wilkinson, director of Library Strategic Initiatives at the WVU Libraries; Chad Proudfoot, 4-H program coordinator and historian with the WVU Extension Service, and Charlene Marshall, former member of the House of Delegates and a former mayor of Morgantown.
“Hidden Figures in the Stars,” at the WVU Planetarium, shows readers what an orbit is in order to understand Katherine Johnson’s contribution as she calculated John Glenn’s historic flight. The Planetarium has scheduled multiple shows on Sept. 22, 23 and Oct. 4, 11, 18, and 25 at 7 p.m. and repeating at 8 p.m. Seating is limited so online reservations are required.
On Nov.6, the community can experience “An Evening with the Space Gal, Emily Callandrelli,” the host of Exploration Outer Space on FOX and graduate of the Statler College of Engineering. This interactive event takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair.
Other events scheduled include:
"Women Speak," is an afternoon of poetry, story and song from artists in the Appalachian region, Sept. 30, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Milano Reading Room of the WVU Downtown Campus Library. This event is held in conjunction with the Looking at Appalachia exhibit and the Women of Appalachia Project.
"Unseen,Unknown, An Augmented Reality Exhibit Exploring West Virginia Sights andStories, 2nd floor of the
Downtown Campus Library, Oct. 1 through the end of the semester. As Hidden
Figures shed light on the stories of West Virginian NASA scientists,
this exhibit gives voice to mostly unknown West Virginia stories.
Conversationswith Curators, Oct. 3, at 4 p.m in the West Virginia and Regional History Center. Curator and assistant director Lori Hostuttler will highlight the archival materials documenting the first African American graduates of West Virginia University:
Hidden Figures Women in STEAM Edit-a-Thon, Oct. 11, 1 to 4 p.m., WVU Downtown Campus Library. In addition to the women in “Hidden Figures,” there are hundreds of other notable women and women of color who are still mostly hidden to mainstream history, Participants in this edit-a-thon will highlight such women from Appalachia in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) by adding and editing articles to the globally edited online encyclopedia. Experience is not required;
"Hidden Sociologies: A Sociological Discussion on Hidden Figures," is a panel discussion led by Daniel Brewster, instructor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Oct. 24 at 6 p.m., in Room G-20 of Ming Hsieh Hall. Panelists include faculty members Mandy Sanchez, Heather Washington and Victoria Velding,
“When the Computer Wore a Skirt: NASA’s Human Computers,” is a traveling exhibit from the Hampton History Museum that explores the history and personalities of the women featured in “Hidden Figure.” The exhibit will come to Morgantown Jan.8. Various campus locations to be determined.
Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA's Record-Setting Frequent Flyer. Former NASA astronaut Jerry Ross will speak on Jan. 29.
For details about these and other activities, visit campusread.wvu.edu.
CONTACT: Susan Jennings Lantz,
director of Campus Read