book

Hidden Figures Quotes

25 of the best book quotes from Hidden Figures
  1. #1
    “It wasn’t northern agitators who pushed Negroes to question their country, as so many southern whites wanted to believe. It was their own pride, their patriotism, their deep and abiding belief in the possibility of democracy that inspired the Negro people. And why not? Who knew American democracy more intimately than the Negro people? They knew democracy’s every virtue, vice, and shortcoming, its voice and contour, by its profound and persistent absence in their lives. The failure to secure the blessings of democracy was the feature that most defined their existence in America. Every Sunday they made their way to their sanctuaries and fervently prayed to the Lord to send them a sign that democracy would come to them.”
  2. #2
    “They wore their professional clothes like armor. They wielded their work like weapons, warding off the presumption of inferiority because they were Negro or female.”
  3. #3
    “What I wanted was for them to have a grand, sweeping narrative that they deserved, the kind of American history that belongs to the Wright Brothers and the astronauts, to Alexander Hamilton and Martin Luther King Jr. Not told as a separate history, but as part of the story we all know. Not at the margins, but at the very center, the protagonists of the drama. And not just because they are black, or because they are women, but because they are part of the American epic.”
  4. #4
    “The war, however, and the rhetoric that accompanied it created an urgency in the black community to call in the long overdue debt their country owed them. “Men of every creed and every race, wherever they lived in the world” were entitled to “Four Freedoms”: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear, Roosevelt said, addressing the American people in his 1941 State of the Union address.”
  5. #5
    “As fantastical as America’s space ambitions might have seemed, sending a man into space was starting to feel like a straightforward task compared to putting black and white students together in the same Virginia classrooms.”
  6. #6
    “She has been standing in the future for years, waiting for the rest of us to catch up.”
  7. #7
    “Katherine gave in to the wonder of the moment, imagining herself in the astronauts’ place. What emotions welled up from the depths of their hearts as they regarded their watery blue home from the void of space? How did it feel to be separated by a nearly unimaginable gulf from the rest of humanity yet carry the hopes, dreams, and fears of their entire species there with them in their tiny, vulnerable craft? Most people she knew wouldn’t have traded places with the astronauts for all of the gold in Fort Knox. The men existed all alone out their in the void of space, connected so tenuously to Earth, with the real possibility that something could go wrong. But given the chance to throw her lot in with the astronauts, Katherine Johnson would have packed her bags immediately. Even without the pressure of the space race, even without the mandate to beat the enemy. For Katherine Johnson, curiosity always bested fear.”
  8. #8
    “Most of all, she went out of her way to provide them with the kinds of experiences that would expand their understanding of what was possible in their lives.”
  1. #9
    “First in space means first, period,” declared Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson. “Second in space is second in everything.”
  2. #10
    “Is the kind of America I know worth defending?”
  3. #11
    “Their goal wasn’t to stand out because of their differences; it was to fit in because of their talent.”
  4. #12
    “Each of us should be allowed to rise as far as our talent and hard work can take us.”
  5. #13
    “She always kept up the questioning until she received a satisfactory answer.”
  6. #14
    “Negro life in America was a never-ending series of negotiations: when to fight and when to concede.”
  7. #15
    “What she wouldn’t have given for her father to see her—to see his baby girl who used to count the stars now sending men to travel among them. Joshua Coleman knew as if from second sight that Katherine, his brilliant, charismatic, inquisitive youngest child—a black girl from rural West Virginia, born at a time when the odds were more likely that she would die before age thirty-five than even finish high school—would somehow, someday, unite her story with the great epic of America.”
  8. #16
    “Women, on the other hand, had to wield their intellects like a scythe, hacking away against the stubborn underbrush of low expectations.”
  1. #17
    “Katherine Johnson knew: once you took the first step, anything was possible.”
  2. #18
    “Their path to advancement might look less like a straight line and more like some of the pressure distributions and orbits they plotted, but they were determined to take a seat at the table.”
  3. #19
    “Or maybe it was her father’s pragmatic dictum, “You are no better than anyone else, and no one is better than you,” that disposed her to see the hardships of her life as a fate shared by everyone, her good fortunes as an unearned blessing.”
  4. #20
    “Their dark skin, their gender, their economic status--none of those were acceptable excuses for not giving the fullest rein to their imaginations and ambitions.”
  5. #21
    “I changed what I could, and what I couldn’t, I endured.”
  6. #22
    “Sometimes, she knew, the most important battles for dignity, pride, and progress were fought with the simplest of actions.”
  7. #23
    “When seasoned by the subtleties of accident, harmony, favor, wisdom, and inevitability, luck takes on the cast of serendipity. Serendipity happens when a well-trained mind looking for one things encounters something else: the unexpected.”
  8. #24
    “There was virtually no aspect of twentieth-century defense technology that had not been touched by the hands and minds of female mathematicians.”
  9. #25
    “Even as a professional in an integrated world, I had been the only black woman in enough drawing rooms and boardrooms to have an inkling of the chutzpah it took for an African American woman in a segregated southern workplace to tell her bosses she was sure her calculations would put a man on the Moon.”
Book Topics › talents
Children's Books About Talents