Category Archives: Movies

Radar Recommends: “Hidden Figures”

Image result for Who are the women portrayed in hidden figures

If one wants to observe a portion of the history of African-American women during the 1960’s , then this film is mandatory for students of true history.  These three brilliant women made remarkable contributions to NASA’s space program, but they also paid the price of not only being women in a field which women were routinely kept out, but the double whammy of also being African-American women who were also smart. They were slighted, insulted,and even ignored, but their brilliance, like cream rising to the top, made their participation  and presence, required and unmatched. But yet, history tried to ‘hide‘ them.

During that time, women were forced to wear ‘costumes’ which addressed dress length, (no pants), jewelry, etc.  And in those days, women went along with it – because, after all, what choice did they have?  But it was far worse for the African-American women, for, due to the Jim Crow laws in effect, they could not even use the same facilities as the White women. And, unfortunately, many girls, of all races, were disabused of any desire to pursue a vocation which required intense mathematical skills.

MaImage result for Who are the women portrayed in hidden figuresry Jackson ,Katherine Johnson, and  Dorothy Vaughan were hired as ‘human computers’ and pre-dated actual computers, with the first computer being the huge IBM ‘machine’. Katherine Johnson, a childhood mathematical genius, successfully calculated the difficult trajectory calculations which contributed to launching a man into space and returning him safely back to earth. Mary Jackson was an engineer for the space program, who had to fight for the job  and its title, even though she was doing the work. Dorothy Vaughan, also a brilliant mathematician,  hired as a human computer, eventually mastered IBM and programming it, and became a computer programming expert, as well as supervising the NASA computer unit.

In November 2015, Johnson was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. The following Image result for Who are the women portrayed in hidden figuresMay, NASA opened the new $30 million, 40,000-square-foot Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility at Langley.             Related image

These women are heroes and role models for all the young girls out there who choose to work in fields which require mathematical skills, and, for women of color, who can be assured that their skill will speak for them.  The women are  excellently presented in this film, and their story will give you chills and you will find yourself cheering for them, yet also crying with them, but ultimately, celebrating their victories.

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Radar Recommends: “The Suffragette”

Poster - Votes for Women

Poster – Votes for Women (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The true history of the battle for  the right to vote by women has quite literally been suppressed. Sure we know that there was a suffragette movement – but not the response to that movement in the UK.  And, many do not know that the first success was in England.

This film – a docudrama based upon real events is informative, and enlightening.  Excellently presented and understated as the actions themselves shout at the viewer. The punishments, including death and imprisonment should  be known to all women who do not want to take the time to vote. The women who did fight for it clearly paid prices which in hindsight, are horrific. Not just imprisonment, but being shunned, violently attacked and beaten by the police, and even having their children taken away from them. At the time – women were not allowed to make decisions regarding their children, only men were. It was the ‘law’ – and women had no voice in the creation of those laws. And, it is difficult to believe that even today, men are still attempting to make decisions and choices for women – a true reflection of a patriarchal society.

English: Tennessee Celeste Claflin, suffragett...

English: Tennessee Celeste Claflin, suffragette, with other suffragettes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The conditions under which women worked at the time is shocking, as is the fact that they began work as early as seven years old. The suffragette were not shrinking violets – and some even called therm terrorists when they resorted to terrorist acts when the government refused to act  upon their requests. Whether they were or not will be a decision left up to you as it is a subjective one.

The actors portrayed the real historical characters without doing so in a sympathetic light – that is because with only the historical facts – one could not help but empathize. The sheer terror surrounding their struggle is accurately presented when researched according to historical press coverage.

If you think that the struggle for women’s right to vote and other rights was merely women marching wearing white dresses – or aristocratic ‘housewives’ who had nothing to do – prepare yourself for a rude awakening. Brilliantly and honestly produced. This film should be required viewing at all academic levels.

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