The Woman Behind ‘Hidden Figures’ Has More Stories About Unsung Heroes Up Her Sleeve

Hidden Figures stunned everyone late last year as one of the top-grossing films at the box office.

The 1960’s- set film tells the astounding story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe). These three women were some of NASA’s ingenious “human computers” and were instrumental in helping the USA reach new heights in space in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. Hidden Figures author Margot Lee Shetterly dug up the narrative after hearing stories from her father who worked at NASA and who worked closely with Mary Jackson. To date, the film has grossed $225 million globally.

In an interview with Shadow and Act last year, Shetterly made it clear that she was not done unearthing these type of stories. She said, “I found two other stories, untold stories with charismatic characters that I would like to write. I started to think of Hidden Figures as the first part of a mid-century African-American trilogy.” It looks like Shetterly is well on her way to getting these stories out. She just inked a deal with Viking publishing for two books.

The first book will take place in mid-century Baltimore and chronicles two African-American families who were alike in power and vision. The first family, the owners of the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper, as it was called when it was launched in 1892 (commonly known as The Afro). The second family, the Adamses were influential African-American philanthropists and investors. There is no word yet on what the second book’s narrative will tackle.

In a statement to the press, Viking said the books focus on, “the idea of the American Dream and its legacy by excavating stories of other ‘hidden figures,’ extraordinary ordinary African-Americans whose contributions to American history have, for one reason or another, been untold, unseen, or overlooked.”

There is no publish date set for either book yet, but considering the amount of research Shetterly will have to do, it could be a moment. Still, these new books that highlight hidden figures in the Black community could find their way to the big screen shortly after publishing. After all, Shetterly completed Hidden Figures as the film was being shot.

Will you be looking out for Shetterly’s next novels?