Duchess Harris Explains the Politics of Possibility

(excerpt courtesy Rewire.org)

By now, we all know the inspiring story—popularized by the Academy Award-nominated film “Hidden Figures”—of the Black women mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race.

Duchess Harris, professor and chair of the American Studies department at Macalester College, knew this story inside and out long before it hit the theaters. In fact, she had grown up hearing about these women. That’s because her grandmother, Mariam D. Mann, was among the first Black women who started working NASA in the 1940s, decades before the film was set.

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