Wayne Hills Celebrates Black History Month Through Viewing of Film Hidden Figures


By Eunho Jung, Senior Editor

Starting Tuesday, February 22, Wayne Hills High School students and staff will be able to view the film Hidden Figures in the Media Center during lunch. At the end of the week, on Friday, February 25, school staff and administrators will host a discussion panel of the film celebrating and honoring Black History Month in the Media Center during lunch. To participate in the voluntary discussion, please click here to sign up with your Wayneschools account.

The film Hidden Figures was adapted from Margot Lee Shetterly’s novel Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race, a true story featuring the U.S. and Soviet space race to put the first man on the moon. Behind this operation was a group of “hidden figures,” specifically Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Christine Darden, a group of African-American women who were essential in ensuring the success of Mercury 7. However, in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, these women did not receive the recognition they deserved. Shetterly’s novel uncovers the truth of the story behind the success of the United States Space Program during this time praising and recognizing the group of remarkable women.

Black History Month is a month-long celebration of the achievements, struggles, and history of the African American population. “There is no American history without African American history,” said Sara Clarke Kaplan, executive director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University in Washington, D.C.

February was chosen as Black History Month as the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass fall in February. Lincoln, the 16th U.S. president, was influential in the emancipation of the slaves. Douglass was a prominent and influential leader in the abolitionist movement.

Every year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History designates a theme behind Black History Month. This year’s theme is Black Health and Wellness, highlighting medical scholars and healthcare workers. The ASALH states, “In the still overhanging shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, Black people should and do use data and other information-sharing modalities to document, decry, and agitate against the interconnected, intersecting inequalities intentionally baked into systems and structures in the U.S. for no other reason than to curtail, circumscribe, and destroy Black well-being in all forms and Black lives.”

Hanna Hajdu, a junior at Wayne Hills High School and the president of the Empowerment Club, shared her excitement on the upcoming discussion. “The overall purpose of this discussion is to work towards fully normalizing the celebration of Black voices. Though this event is done during Black History month, it’s important to note that we are initiating cultural shifts that will support the Black community throughout the whole year,” Hajdu explained. “By holding these kinds of open conversations, we are actively combating racial prejudice in our school, creating a safer, more accepting environment at Hills. Hidden Figures is such an inspiring movie and I can’t wait to discuss it with everyone!”

Through open discussion of such a monumental holiday in the United States, Wayne Hills’ students and staff can work towards creating a more equitable environment that allows each and every student to thrive in their own way.