Black Women Helped Land A Man On The Moon

Comment: You may think that America got to the moon thanks to Wernher von Braun and his fellow Nazi war criminals but it fact it was black women who did it. I learned this in the Washington Post today so it must be true.

There’s a movie coming out about these black female geniuses – I can’t wait to see it!

Shorter version: At NACA (the predecessor to NASA) during WWII, there were a bunch of women hired to be “computers” (before digital computers existed, computer was a job title for a human, usually female – like phone operators they decided that women were best suited for this work). Most were white but a handful were black (the Federal government did not discriminate even then). A computer would sit at a mechanical calculator (adding machine) all day and do repetitive calculations so that airfoils could be optimized, etc. Men (aeronautical engineers, etc.) would set up the equations and the human computer’s job (just like the digital computers who would replace them) was to repetitively plug values into the equation and get the answers. Over and over. I would say the skill level was roughly comparable to running a cash register or being a bank teller. It must have been mind numbingly boring work. All the work that hundreds of these women did over a period of years could today be run on the computer on your desk in a couple of hours. Somehow they made a movie out of this thin gruel.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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