By Alex Bregman
The new film “Hidden Figures” shines a light on the largely untold story of the groundbreaking work by African-American female mathematicians working at NASA at the height of both the space race and the civil rights movement. The film focuses on the work of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe).
The work of these women helped make John Glenn’s historic 1962 orbit around the Earth possible, and that effort is at the center of the film. Henson, Spencer (who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role) and Monáe spoke to Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric about the film and shared their thoughts on Glenn in the wake of his death Dec. 8 at the age of 95. Glenn will be publicly memorialized this weekend in his home state of Ohio.
Specifically, the final calculations of Johnson helped get Glenn into orbit. Remembering that moment, Spencer said, “He put his life into an African-American’s hands at a time when it was not popular to do so, and that says everything about who he was. He was a national treasure.”
Monáe said, “He was on the right side of history.” Henson added, “He was a man of the people.”
Watch the full interview with the stars of “Hidden Figures,” with their thoughts on Glenn’s legacy, the film and much more, on Dec. 16.