Ambassador Thomas at ZIFF/IIFF Screening of Hidden Figures

Remarks

Ambassador Thomas at ZIFF/IIFF Screening of Hidden Figures

August 30, 2017 

  • Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Thank you all for coming out tonight, and special thanks to Nigel Munyati of the Zimbabwe International Film Festival Trust, and Tsitsi Dangarembga, of the International Images Film Festival for Women, our partners in bringing you tonight’s featured attraction.  I also want to welcome fellow members of our diplomatic community in attendance this evening.
  • Some of you may remember that last year we came together to celebrate the life and accomplishments, as well as mourn the passing, of Prince. A remarkable American, he and his bandmates and many collaborators were known throughout the world for their contribution to music and the arts.
  • Tonight we will delve into the accomplishments and contributions – no less significant but not as widely known — not even in the United States — of another group of African Americans.  I hope that after watching this film you will remember the names of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson.
  • Not as memorable a moniker as “Prince,” I agree, but without the dedication, patriotism, and perhaps most importantly the brainpower of these remarkable women, the history of the Space Race and the Cold War – which means history as we know it – could have been very different. It’s no understatement that without the efforts of these three women named Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary, we might not know the name Neil Armstrong as the first man to walk on the moon.
  • So this is a very important story, and I am grateful for the chance we have to share it with all of you.
  • Now I know you came to watch a movie, not to listen to me, so once again, thank you all so much for coming, and on with the show!