HIDDEN FIGURES READING QUESTIONS

FORMAT: ANSWER QUESTIONS IN FEW SENTENCES. Chapter Four: The Double V 1. How could African Americans relate to the events of WW2 different than that of their white counterparts? (page 32) 2. How did African Americans feel about the discrimination against them as compared to the German prisoners of war who were in America? How did they respond to these feelings, particularly after the attack on Pearl Harbor? 3. What was “the double V (VV)”? Chapter Five: Manifest Desinty 1. On page 43, what did the sign for “Colored Computers” symbolize for the women of West Computing? Chapter Six: War Birds 1. How did the men at Langley view the female computers? Who received credit for their work? What was one project that even the female computers received national recognition for? Why were all involved in the project given credit for it? 2. “War, technology, and social progress; it seemed that the second two always came with first”. Discuss this quote as it relates to this chapter (the role of Langley, the computers and specifically Dorothy Vaughn) 3. What is the significance of the title? Chapter Seven: The Duration 1. Describe how Newsome Park was different than Farmville–where Dorothy moved from. 2. What were some of the consequences for the Hampton Roads area after the war ended? Chapter Eight: Those Who Move Forward 1. In this chapter, we get to fully meet Katherine Goble. In what ways does the author illustrate Katherine’s “move forward”? What skills, circumstances, and elements of luck as a young woman allowed her to advance in life, education and society? Chapter Nine: Breaking Barriers 1. In what ways did Dorothy make great sacrifices for her children? How was the move to Hampton roads beneficial to her children? 2. Why was Hampton Roads labeled a “military industrial complex”? 3. Though she had a “very, very good black job”, Dorothy was witness to unfair treatment and paths to advancement. Describe the difference between how men were treated by engineers vs. how women were treated. 4. What was the strongest evidence of the progress women were making at Langley? 5. What was the pinnacle of achievement for black women at Langley? How long did it take for Dorothy Vaughn to finally achieve that title even though she was clearly qualified, was already doing the job and was looked upon by the girls in West Computing AND many engineers as already in that position? Why did it take so long for her bosses to come to the same conclusion? Chapter Ten: Home by the Sea 1. Why did Mary Jackson forbid her Girl Scout troop from singing one more note of “Pick a Bale of Cotton”? What significance did that small action have for Mary? What does that say about her? 2. How did the conviction of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg affect life at Langley? 3. With racial segregation, anti-Semitism, and the Red Scare–how did this affect the US’s reputation with the rest of the world, particularly “newly independent countries, eager for alliances”? What did Truman do about this? 4. How did word about the positions available in “Mrs. Vaughn’s office” spread “like wildfire”? In other words, how did Mary Jackson finally arrive at Langley? Chapter Eleven: The Area Rule 1. How is the bathroom anecdote an example of privilege? How did this incident work in Mary’s favor? What might “Kaz” have seen in Mary when she took off the mask so many blacks put on around whites? 2. Even though women broke the color barrier at Langley, what title would they still have to fight for that their male counterparts would not? 3. What “got you noticed” by male engineers? What “marked you as someone who should move ahead”? Chapter Twelve: Serendipity 1. What is serendipity? 2. How were the boundaries between blacks and whites fuzzy inside the Langley gates? What specific incident with Katerine and a co-worker illustrates this grey area? 3. How does Katherine combat the “demon” or insecurity that wants her to think that her co-workers are racist? How does the way in which she was raised help her look differently at the new situation she finds herself in at the Flight Research Division? What made the whole co-worker incident moot anyway? Chapter Thirteen: Turbulence 1. How is the story about the Piper and the jet plane rewarding for Katherine? What was her involvement in it? 2. How did Katherine solve the issues of segregated bathrooms and cafeterias? How did she come to be perceived by her colleagues? Why? 3. What devastating loss did Katherine experience in 1956? How did she react to it and her new role as the sole breadwinner? What did she turn to as a sanctuary? (page 135) 4. What is the significance of Katherine’s view that Jimmy’s death “wasn’t so much an end as an intermission”?

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