Examining Historical Accuracy in 'Hidden Figures'

475 (1 page)
Download for Free
Important: This sample is for inspiration and reference only

Table of contents


While most of the events that occurred in the movie Hidden Figures is accurate, there are some parts of the movie that are historically inaccurate. The character, Al Harrison, is based on multiple people. The character Al Harrison, is based on three different directors at NASA Langley during Katherine Johnson’s time at NASA. Theodore Melfi wasn’t able to create the character based on one person so he made it based off of multiple. Another event that many people question is if Katherine’s father really moved the family 120 miles each school year so Katherine could continue her education.

No time to compare samples?
Hire a Writer

✓Full confidentiality ✓No hidden charges ✓No plagiarism

Katherine G. Johnson: Trailblazing Mathematician

Born in 1918, Katherine G. Johnson had been very intelligent since she was born. She was intrigued with numbers and became a high school freshman by age 10. In her hometown of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, a school for African-Americans, it normally stopped at the eighth grade for those who could afford to attend. Katherine's father, Joshua, was determined to see his children reach their potential, so he drove the family 120 miles to Institute, West Virginia, where African Americans could pursue an education past the eighth grade, through high school, and into college. He rented a house for the family to stay during the school year and journeyed back and forth to White Sulphur Springs for his job at a hotel. He did this for eight years so that each of his four children could go to high school and college. Katherine proved to be so smart that she skipped several grades, graduating high school at age 14 and from West Virginia State College at 18.

The Role of Paul Stafford

Many people question whether NASA’s engineer Paul Stafford is based on a real person. The answer to this question is no. Paul Stafford was created to represent certain racist and sexist attitudes that existed during the 1950s. In Hidden Figures, Stafford reduces Katherine’s job qualifications to secretarial duty, not allowing her to put her name on official reports, and telling her it’s not appropriate for women to attend space program briefings. By the end of the movie, Stafford changes his opinion about Katherine which is shown when he brings Katherine a cup of coffee.

Women's Impact at NASA

In this film, women were known as “computers” which is actually true. Before the days of electronic computers that we're familiar with today, the women hired at NASA to calculate trajectories, the results of wind tunnel tests, etc. had the job title of 'computer.' In simple terms, these were mathematicians who performed computations. Even when electronic computers were first used at NASA, human computers like Katherine Johnson still often performed calculations by hand to verify the results of their electronic counterparts.


To conclude, while a few events that were shown in this film were inaccurate, most of the events seen in this movie did occur in real life.  

You can receive your plagiarism free paper on any topic in 3 hours!

*minimum deadline

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below

Copy to Clipboard
Examining Historical Accuracy in ‘Hidden Figures’. (2023, Jun 26). WritingBros. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/examining-historical-accuracy-in-hidden-figures/
“Examining Historical Accuracy in ‘Hidden Figures’.” WritingBros, 26 Jun. 2023, writingbros.com/essay-examples/examining-historical-accuracy-in-hidden-figures/
Examining Historical Accuracy in ‘Hidden Figures’. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/examining-historical-accuracy-in-hidden-figures/> [Accessed 24 Sept. 2023].
Examining Historical Accuracy in ‘Hidden Figures’ [Internet]. WritingBros. 2023 Jun 26 [cited 2023 Sept 24]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/examining-historical-accuracy-in-hidden-figures/
Copy to Clipboard

Need writing help?

You can always rely on us no matter what type of paper you need

Order My Paper

*No hidden charges