Fayetteville State University’s Chancellor’s Speaker Series presents Margot Lee Shetterly, Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. at J. W. Seabrook Auditorium. The speaker series is designed to bring top executives, government officials, academic leaders and nationally known speakers to FSU.
Shetterly is an entrepreneur, writer, researcher and the author of “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and The Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.” The film adaptation, “Hidden Figures” became the No. 1 movie in America during its run, scoring three Oscar nominations (Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Spencer) and two Golden Globes (Best Supporting Actress for Spencer and Best Original Score). It also won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
Up & Coming Weekly spoke with the author about her upcoming appearance.
UCW: What should the audience expect to hear from you Feb. 6?
Shetterly: I’ll be speaking about my book, “Hidden Figures,” and a little bit about the history behind it.
UCW: Please give us a short synopsis of your book.
Shetterly: It is a story about four African-American women who worked as mathematicians at NASA from 1943-1969. It serves as the secondary narrative (to the primary narrative), which is really the history of desegregation of schools in Virginia by extension of the United States.
UCW: What inspired you to write this book?
Shetterly: My father is a NASA scientist, and I grew up knowing these women and grew up living in the same community with them. Their history is my history in a very direct way.
UCW: Why is it important to tell the history of black women?
Shetterly: I think the most important thing is if we wait for other people to tell our story, it won’t get told. I think it is really incumbent upon each of us who know these stories, (who) grew up with these people who are remarkable and may not (have) gotten their full accounting in the history books – we have to learn those stories and tell those stories.
UCW: What is the one thing you want the audience to take from your presentation Feb. 6?
Shetterly: One thing is that all of this is our history. Black history is American history. There is no difference between the two.
UCW: Are you working on any new projects?
Shetterly: I am just in the beginning stages of working on a new project. “Hidden Figures” is still keeping me busy.
UCW: Final thoughts?
Shetterly: I’m really looking forward to the trip. It is very exciting, and I am really grateful to everyone for extending the invitation.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 910-672-1111.