15 Best Dorothy Vaughan Quotes From The Mathematician And 'Human-Computer'

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Dec 12, 2023 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Feb 24, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
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Mathematician solving a problem

Dorothy Vaughan is an American mathematician and a human-computer.

She is famous for being the first African-American manager who worked for NASA, and holds a pioneering role in the space program at NASA. As the first African-American to work at NASA, she changed the world for the better.

One of her prominent discoveries was the work she did for the SCOUT Launch Vehicle Program that shot the first satellites into space. Dorothy Vaughan was born in 1910 in Missouri and died in 2008.

She wasn't properly recognized until Margot Lee Shetterly released a book called 'Hidden Figures: The American Dream And The Untold Story Of The Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race' where she talked about the huge contributions and discoveries made by Dorothy and the other mathematicians, Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson.

Later, a movie, 'Hidden Figures', written by Allison Schroeder, was released in 2016 and was based on the book which illustrated the huge contributions by these women. Here are some quotes about Dorothy Vaughan that you would definitely enjoy.

If you like what you read, you could also check out 'Hidden Figures' quotes and computer quotes.

Famous 'Hidden Figures' Quotes By Dorothy Vaughan

Smiling kid in front of blackboard

'Hidden Figures' was directed by Theodore Melfi with Octavia Spencer starring as Dorothy Vaughan, Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson. 'Hidden Figures' movie quotes talk about how these three prominent women outshone and went beyond race line and gender discriminations with their unity and hope.

1. "Mary Jackson: She's not married. She's a widow with three beautiful little girls. So well behaved. Angels on earth is what we like to call them. Dorothy, slice of pie?

Dorothy Vaughan: I'd love one. Excuse me.

Katherine Johnson: You already have a slice of pie, Dorothy."

- 'Hidden Figures'.

2. "Dorothy Vaughan: Hello, Colonel. I'm Dorothy Vaughan. That's Mary Jackson. I believe you met her husband Levi.

Colonel Jim Johnson: Yes ma'am. Good to meet y'all."

- 'Hidden Figures'.

3. "Vivian Mitchell: Despite what you may think, I have nothing against y'all.

Dorothy Vaughan: I know, I know you probably believe that."

- 'Hidden Figures'.

4. "White Cop: Whole damn country's counting on them.

Dorothy Vaughan: That's for certain.

Mary Jackson: Hard being of service broken down on the side of the road, though."

- 'Hidden Figures'.

5. "Mary Jackson: This starter is starting to make us late. We are all going to end up unemployed riding around in this pile of junk to work every day.

Dorothy Vaughan: Well, you're welcome to walk the sixteen miles."

- 'Hidden Figures'.

6. "White Cop: Right, right. Uh, well, do y'all need a tow or something?

Dorothy Vaughan: No, thank you, Officer. I think I got it."

- 'Hidden Figures'.

7. "I haven't been late one day in ten years. Haven't been out sick. Haven't complained. My work's on time. It's done right, it's done well."

- Dorothy Vaughan, 'Hidden Figures'.

8. "What's not fair is having the responsibility of a supervisor, but not the title or the pay. And watching you two move on. Now, don't get me wrong. Any upward movement is movement for us all, just isn't movement for me."

- Dorothy Vaughan, 'Hidden Figures'.

9. "Vivian Mitchell: Space Task Group needs a computer, ASAP. Someone with a handle on analytic geometry. We can't fill that position out of the east group.

Dorothy Vaughan: Permanent or temp?

Vivian Mitchell: Everything's temporary, Dorothy. You have someone?

Dorothy Vaughan: Yes, ma'am. Katherine's the gal for that. She can handle any numbers you put in front of her."

-  'Hidden Figures'.

10. "Dorothy Vaughan: The IBM 7090 data processing system. It has the capability of solving over twenty-four thousand multiplications per second.

West Area Computer Woman #1: Holy Moses, that's lightning fast.

West Area Computer Woman #2: They'll never get that to work.

Dorothy Vaughan: Oh, it'll run eventually, and when it does, we have to know how to program it. Unless you'd rather be out of a job."

-  'Hidden Figures'.

'Hidden Figures' Dorothy Vaughan Quotes

Here are yet another set of famous Dorothy Vaughan quotes to help you see and think; these inspirational quotes have deep life teachings hidden behind, that you might like to reflect on:

11. "Separate and equal are two different things. Just 'cause it's the way, doesn't make it right, understand?"

- Dorothy Vaughan, 'Hidden Figures'.

12. "If you act right - you are right. That's for certain."

- Dorothy Vaughan, 'Hidden Figures'.

13. "Now don't get me wrong, any upward movement is movement for us all."

- Dorothy Vaughan, 'Hidden Figures'.

14. "At a church picnic, speaking about Colonel Jim Johnson while fixing plates at the food table] I hear he's planning on staying in the area."

- Dorothy Vaughan, 'Hidden Figures'.

15. "We're going to need a lot of manpower to program that beast. I can't do it alone. My gals are ready, they can do the work."

- Dorothy Vaughan, 'Hidden Figures'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Dorothy Vaughan quotes then why not take a look at funny maths quotes, or physics quotes?

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Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

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