Community celebrates ´Juneteenth' with ´Hidden Figures' screening at Stillwater Public Library

(STILLWATER, OKLA. / June 13, 2017) – In celebration of Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery, Stillwater Community United (SCU) and Stillwater Public Library will present a free screening of the 2016 Academy Award nominated film, “Hidden Figures.” The film, which will be shown in the library auditorium Sunday, June 25, at 2 p.m., tells the story of the female, African-American team of mathematicians who helped N.A.S.A. launch its space program.

Mauree Turner, president of OSU’s chapter of NAACP and president of the Oklahoma NAACP Youth and College Division, will introduce the film, explain its significance and discuss the importance of showing films like this in the community.

“This film really highlights those hidden figures who were not well-known, but who were integral parts of important events in U.S. history,” said Turner. “It is a part of history we don’t learn in school, so showing a film like this helps showcase the roles of minorities in American history.”

Turner also believes the film holds valuable lessons for younger students.

“My hope is that students, whether in college or secondary school, will come out and become inspired to embrace their interest in the STEM fields,” said Turner. “There can be peer pressure to avoid STEM topics. I felt that pressure was I was younger. I hope students will take away that it is okay to like science and math.”

“Hidden Figures” was nominated for three Oscar Awards including Best Picture, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Octavia Spencer and Best Adapted Screenplay. Along with Spencer, the film stars Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe.

“I was inspired by how resilient and driven each of the women were,” said Rev. Deborah Meinke, SCU member and Interim Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church. Stillwater. “Especially as they bore the double burden of being black and female in the white male engineer’s world.”  

SCU was organized three years ago as a way for community members to unite to revive the Martin Luther King Day celebrations. It has extended its mission to sponsorship of other events that encourage collaboration within the entire community.

“My own hope for the group is to get a better understanding of the African-American experience in Stillwater,” said Meinke. “And to improve relationships between largely segregated populations.”  

Community members interested in reading “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly, can check out the book from the library in multiple media types, including regular print, eBook, audiobook and eAudio. The library also now offers a ten copy book club kit for area reading groups to borrow. Young readers can enjoy the book by borrowing the Young Readers’ edition from Oklahoma Virtual Library.

The film screening is free and open to the public. Popcorn will be provided. For more information about the event or borrowing books, contact the library Help Desk at (405) 372-3633 x8106 or askalibrarian@stillwater.org.

Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.). Library hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.