‘Hidden Figures’ Author to Speak in Fredericksburg

by | Jan 24, 2017 | Events

By Susan Larson.

Margot Lee Shetterly, author of “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race,” will speak in Dodd Auditorium at the University of Mary Washington at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 4, 2017.

The free event is part of Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s Rappahannock Reads initiative, in which community members are encouraged to read the same book and engage in library events reflecting on the book’s themes. There is even a young readers’ edition of “Hidden Figures.”

Shetterly’s talk, question-and-answer session, and book signing were originally scheduled for the Headquarters Library Theatre, but the popularity of the book and the movie made it necessary to move the event to a larger space, according to Adult Services Coordinator Michele R. Brown. The University of Mary Washington is located at 1301 College Ave. in Fredericksburg, and Dodd Auditorium is in George Washington Hall.

“Hidden Figures” is the true story of the black women who went from teaching math in segregated schools in the 1940s, to becoming key scientists at NASA’s Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, Virginia, where their work helped launch John Glenn into space.

These women dealt with Virginia’s Jim Crow laws, requiring them to be separated from white co-workers, even while doing pioneering work during the Space Race.

Shetterly, a University of Virginia graduate, grew up in Hampton, Virginia, where she knew many of the women featured in her book.

“Hidden Figures” is on The New York Times bestsellers list, and on the longlist for the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.

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