As mathematician Katherine Johnson — played by Taraji P. Henson — steps into a high-level NASA briefing, the table of men falls silent and shifts their focus to the black woman entering.
It’s a turning point scene in the Academy Award-nominated film, Hidden Figures, where Johnson is permitted into a meeting not usually open to women.
Dwan Marshall can relate.
In her career, she’s received similar reactions while at conferences or attending workshops as a black woman engineer.
And that’s decades later, far removed from the 1960s setting for Johnson and other black women mathematicians and engineers depicted in the film, based on true events about the early days of NASA.
“Numerous times I’ve walked in, and you can read the faces of shock, No. 1 that it’s a black person and it’s a black woman,” Marshall told a theater of people following a Hidden Figures screening Sunday at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Dallas.
The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers hosted the screening along with a panel discussion, during which Marshall and other professionals delved into disparities still alive in science, technology, engineering, and math careers.
Click here to read more about the Dallas’ ‘Hidden Figures’.