Ever since I saw the movie, Hidden Figures, the first week of January I’ve been beaming with #BlackGirlMagic. There is something beyond inspiring about seeing Black women on the big screen for their brilliance and contributions to this country. Especially in a place like Hollywood where we too often see Black women in movies playing stereotypical roles. I feel it is important to talk about the impact and importance of this movie consistently, but especially during Black History Month.
But as uplifting as the movie Hidden Figures is, it’s almost disheartening to see how many years it took for us to even know they existed, let alone the importance of why we NEED to know their names. To add insult to injury, last week was the first time I had ever heard of and learned about, Raye Montague. For those of you who are in the dark like I was, Raye Montague, is a United States Naval Engineer, who created the first ever computer generated rough draft of the U.S. Naval ship. She is not only a Black woman, but she is the first ever man/woman, to complete such a task. How amazing is that bit of history? As the wife of a military man, this makes me SO proud.
All of these new revelations got me thinking: how many others hidden figures are there we should know by name? They will teach us the history and names of people from other countries and nations before they will teach us about the very people in this country who built this country from the ground up. Most of us have known for some time, the history books given to us in schools doesn’t tell you much about Black people except that we were slaves, then Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrived, and everything was made equal. (It’s astonishing how many people in this country believe this load of crap.) They were also so kind as to explain these two events in the equivalent of three to four pages of a four hundred page text book. (Insert eye roll here) So it comes as no surprise that so many of the accomplishments of Black people (and other people of color) has disappeared over time. They have purposely been trying to hide, and attempted to stop our magic from shining since the beginning of time, and since the beginning of time, we have shown over and over again how resilient we are as a people. The harder to push against the harder we will push back.
To all of the hidden figures who built, changed, and impacted this country, please know how thankful we are for you. Please know that even though we don’t know your names directly, we will try our hardest over these years to not only find out your names, but properly remember them and pass them on for generations. Please know there are many of us who are going to do our best to teach the next generation about who they can be and what amazing things they can do in their lives because of you. One day your names will no longer be hidden.