Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson
When it comes to NASA's space program of the 1960s, we instantly think about the white male astronauts who went into space and landed on the moon or orbited around the earth. But in order for those achievements to come to fruition, NASA needed a group of expert mathematicians. That group included three African American women whose names have sadly not been in the history books and their story is told in Theodore Melfi's new film Hidden Figures.
In the movie, Empire
star Taraji P. Henson plays Katherine Johnson. Along with her colleagues Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, they came up with the calculations that helped the late John Glenn
become the first American to orbit around the Earth. The real Katherine Johnson
, now 98, remained with NASA until the 1980s, working on the Apollo Program. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented Johnson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Henson is best known for her Golden Globe Award-winning role as Cookie Lyon on Fox's Empire
. However, her resume includes several other achievements, including an Oscar nomination for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
. She also starred in Think Like A Man
, Person of Interest
, No Good Deed
and Think Like A Man Too