As Black History Month Begins, Hollywood's ‘Hidden Figures' Is an Example of Untold Stories

Take note. Today begins Black History Month.Feb. 1 kicks off the whirlwind race to remember and highlight the highs and lows of African-American and African history. American descendants of Africa have 28 days to crowd in reflections about centuries of history.Key American black history events began in the 15th century and encompasses the pre-slave trade freedom in Africa, the unthinkable cruelty of the trans-Atlantic Middle Passage, and the twists and turns of American black culture, including emancipation and the election of the first black president.Stunning new historical information continues to surface. For instance, the Oscar-nominated movie Hidden Figures is a classic example of history that the majority of the public never knew about and that hadn't been disclosed before.The movie recounts the true story of three black women who were brilliant mathematicians recruited to work at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., in the 1950s during early attempts to launch spacecrafts and astronauts. Langley's parent company later became NASA.Well-known actresses and entertainers portray the women: actresses Taraji P. Henson as real-life Katherine Johnson; Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan; and musical artist and actress Janelle Monae as Mary Jackson. The movie is based on the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. Her father was a black pioneer NASA research scientist and mother a Hampton University English professor.The success of Hidden Figures highlights the importance of researching and remembering black history. The retelling of history never gets old because it finds a new audience all the time.So, buckle your seat belt. Here are some initial events Blazck History Month events to consider:At 8:15 p.m. Friday and 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday the musical Louie and Ella, which recounts the lives and legacies of music icons Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, will be performed at The Black Academy of Arts and Letter, Canton and Akard streets in downtown Dallas. Broadway actors Trent Armand Kendall and Natasha Yvette Williams will portray Armstrong and Fitzgerald. Tickets are $17.50 at TicketMaster locations and the TBAAL box office. Call 214-743-2400 or visit 4 p.m. Saturday, a free reception and exhibit will feature artists Larry Alexander, Therlee Gibson, Walter Land and Don O'Bannon at the Irving Arts Center's main gallery, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. in Irving.  Continue reading...

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