tv Women and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory CSPAN April 13, 2019 7:05pm-8:01pm EDT
hisearn more about involvement with nasa's apollo program on sunday at 4:30 p.m. eastern. explore our nation's past here on american history tv only on the is been three. -- only on c-span3. the latter later became part of nasa and the women did crucial work in the space program for decades. she is the author of rise of the rocket girls. the women who propelled us from missiles to the moon to mars." this 15 minute talk is part of the lecture series hosted by the university of mary washington.
>> i want to introduce tonight speaker . -- nathalia holt. she has conducted research at caltech library and at harvard. she is a founder at massachusetts general hospital and m.i.t.. her first book is called cured, the people who defeated hiv. she has been published in the new york times, los angeles times and time magazine. in 2016 she published the work that is the basic of her talk tonight, entitled "rise of the rocket girls: the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to mars."
that work was a bestseller and was widely praised by critics, including one who described it as immersive, evocative, and superbly written. her narrative should be required reading. another commented that when neil armstrong made his giant leap for mankind, there was womankind in the control room. it is a pleasure to welcome to the university of mary washington nathalia holt. [applause] nathalia: thank you so much. i really appreciate you having me here tonight and i am excited to talk to you about rocket girls. this is a group of pioneers whose careers shaped nasa and
really made it what it is today. before i get into their history, i want to share with you a small slice of my own history, because i came to this book in a very unusual way. i started in 2010. my husband and i had just moved from california to boston and i was pregnant. we were expecting our first baby. but we could not agree on the name. we argued over names. we made long lists of baby names and nothing seemed right. and then my husband, out of the blue, suggested the name eleanor francis. when i first heard the name, i thought, i am not sure. it sounds old-fashioned. so i did what parents do and i googled the name. the first person to come up was
eleanor francis helene. my browser was full of this picture of her and she accepted award at nasa. i was stunned. i had no idea that women worked at nasa at the time, much less as scientists. i knew i had to learn more. what i found was that she was not alone. she was one of a large group of women who worked at the jet propulsion laboratory in pasadena, california. jpl has a fascinating history in and of itself. it was founded by a group that was called the suicide squad. they received this name because of the very dangerous experiments they performed on the caltech campus, some of them were students and others were just young people who liked to
explode things. so they did a lot of that on campus. they set off an explosion in the engineering building. they also blasted off the side of the building, raining brick down on students below. it was at this point that the administrators at caltech said, this is enough. you have to leave. this is where they went. this isolated canyon outside pasadena, where they could set off rockets. it is important to note at this time in history, the late 1930's, rocket science is considered a fringe science. no serious scientist or engineer would ever aspire to being a rocket scientist. their professors would tell them what they were trying to do was impossible. you would never be able to send
a rocket into space. there was a woman who was part of this suicide squad named barberie can write -- barbie canwright. she was a computer. that meant a person who computes. they performed the calculations for the experiments. this is one of the earliest known computers, he was an 18th-century french mathematician and astronomer. he was working on calculating the return of haley's comet. he had been brought onto the project to work as a computer and he was working with a woman named nicole. they spent long hours calculating the gravitational pull of the planets to determine an exact date for the return of the comet. in 1756, they presented their result to the scientific community. but only his name was on the paper.
the female computer was left off. this would really be the first in a long line of female computers not being acknowledged for their work. this is a group of computers who worked in the 1800s at the harvard observatory. they were responsible for analyzing a vast amount of data coming into the observatory. they made a star classification system and created maps of the sky. they were hired by a man named charles edward pickering and he said the reason he hired women as computers was because they were more detail oriented, better suited to this type of work. but the real reason may be that they could be paid a lot less. they worked six days a week and made $.25 to $.50 an hour. the number of computers in the united states got a boost in
1938 as part of the works progress administration, when the u.s. government hired 450 computers. 76 of them were women. their supervisor was a woman. her name was gertrude blanche and she had a phd in mathematics. they worked on something special. they were creating the math tables project, which is a 28 volume set of logarithms and trigonometry that would one day form the first steps into space. the first person to work with these books at the jpl was barbie canwrigth. this is her and her husband. they were the first two computers to be working at the lab. they were working on the jet-assisted takeoff. they and the suicide squad were strapping on the homemade
rockets onto the side of aircraft and the plan was they could adopt the technology to one day power bombers over oceans. after many failures and some explosions, they had some success. in 1939, they received a grant from the u.s. government and officially formed the lab. with the new money, richard was promoted to the position of engineer. barbie, with the same experience and education, was not. this is how it was. men were engineers. women were computers. now the lab needed to hire a few more computers, so they hired two women and one man. one of the women was very important to the future of the lab.
her name was macy roberts. in 1940, she was named head of the computing section. this was a big deal at the time. there were no other female heads. so she took responsibility seriously, especially as the lab was now expanding and they were hiring more computers. she interviewed men and women for the job of computers. she decided she would only hire women. the reason is because she felt if she hired a man, they would not listen to her simply because she was a woman. so macy hired a lot of women. they came from all over the country. all types of backgrounds and experience levels. the woman in the center was jeanette, the first african-american hired in the technical division in the lab. she had a bachelors in chemical engineering from ucla.
today, she would be hired as an engineer. back then, she was hired as a computer. these women worked with paper and pencil and bulky machines called calculators that, despite their size, do surprisingly little. early models did addition and subtraction. later models could do square roots. the women were calculating the early potential of rocket propellers and trajectories of missiles. they were working on a 49 foot behemoth and a smaller surface to surface one. but the real love was space exploration. in the 1950's, the women start adapting the design for the sergeant missile into a rocket called puberty -- called
jupiter. they took their calculations and created a scaled-down version called the baby sergeant. they took 12 of the baby sergeant's and place them in a big spinning tub and the women decided to make it spinning so it would balance the thrust of all the different rockets. they placed two of the spinning tops on top of a large rocket and at the peak was a single baby sergeant whose aim was to launch the world's first satellite. in 1956, they launched jupiter c. the women in the control room that night told me how exciting it was. that rocket broke all records for the time. speed records, altitude records, it rose 3335 miles into the air. but there was no satellite at the peak. it was way down with sandbags.
the reason is because the eisenhower administration had not given them the go-ahead to launch a satellite. so you can imagine how frustrated they were, less than one month later, when the soviet union launched sputnik. the women i talked to are still angry about this. it is very frustrating. because they know given the opportunities, they could have launched before them. it is not until a second sputnik is launched that eisenhower finally gives the group the go-ahead. so december 31, 1958, the group that jpl assembles to launch explorer one. many women were part of the launch. one was barbara polson.
she is the one responsible for calculating the trajectory of the satellite as it leaves earth. to do this, she sits at a light table with paper and pencil. she is doing this by hand. standing over her shoulder are richard, the famous physicist, and the president of caltech. everyone in the room is waiting on her calculations to find out if this mission will be a success. when she calculates that yes, explorer 1 has made it and america has its first satellite, the room erupted in celebration. it is an incredible moment. it is also the birth of nasa. after that, everything changes. the women leave military design behind and are focused on space. things are also changing for barbara. macy roberts is now retiring and barbara, who has worked there for a decade, has been promoted to supervisor of the computing
section. she is also 30 years old and about to get married and about to start a family. in 1960, only 25% of mothers worked outside the home. but barbara decides she loves her job, she feels her work is too important and she definitely wants to stay. so you can imagine how shocked she is when, at eight months pregnant, the love administrators learn she is expecting and immediately fire her. they tell her she is an insurance liability and it does not matter that she is supervisor and has done so much for the lab, she has to pack up and leave that day. she is devastated. she goes home to her husband and cries, i thought i was worth more than that. fortunately, barbara is able to come back and have a 45 year career at nasa and she is able
to do so thanks to helen lange, who you can see standing up in the second row. she was born in china. she ended up living through many terrors during world war ii. she came to the united states for college and in 1953 she was hired by macy roberts to work at jpl. and right away, everyone realizes helen is special. she is an incredibly gifted mathematician and becomes the go to person that, when they have a really difficult problem, all of the engineers want her to be working with them. so it is natural for her to take over the role of supervisor after barbara has been fired. but, helen is like barbara. 30 years old. just gotten married and about to start a family. so she decides to learn from barbara's example and she hides her pregnancy for as long as she can.
when it is time to have the baby, because there is no maternity leave at this time, she combines all her sick and vacation time so she can take some months off. so she is able to retain her supervisor position. as she comes back to work, she decides it is not enough just for her to be there is a working mom. she wants to bring back other mothers. so she ends up calling barbara and many others and asking them if they want to come back. by doing this, helen creates a culture of working motherhood in the lab that simply did not exist before her. this is all happening at a very interesting time in the history of technology. computers are just now in the early 1960's really coming into use at nasa. nasa was a little later than other interest is -- industries in adopting computers.
at most nasa centers, once the electronic computers came in, the people who worked as human computers were largely fired. i have a few examples of this. on the top is a group of human computers at langley, not far from here. you have probably heard the story of the african-american computers who worked at langley in the brilliantly told book, hidden figures, which is also a movie. in the bottom is a group from the armstrong flight research center. in both cases, once ibm computers entered in the 60's, almost all of the women were fired. this happened across the country. they did not happen at the jpl. instead, the women were trained as the first computer programmers. they were the ones who worked on ibm computers like this.
this group of women at jpl wrote the very first program that sent american spacecraft to the moon and planets. and they do it on cards like this. in my research i was really curious as to why jpl was so different from other nasa centers. i found that at most nasa centers, they were formed for military basis so the culture was very different than at jpl, which was formed by the suicide squad. because of its association with caltech, it only had a quirky academic field. it still feels very different. despite working in such a progressive place, the women were still subject to gender norms of the day and one that i found most surprising with the beauty contests. the lab held misguided missile,
later renamed the queen of outer space. women from all over the lab would compete in these contests. my favorite beauty contest story is in 1964. as part of the ranger series missions. the goal was to send the first camera to the moon in order to take the first close-up images of the lunar surface and inform possible landing sites for apollo. by 1964, this was proving impossible. there had been five failed missions and there was a feeling that if we cannot even send a camera to the moon, how will we ever get astronauts there? so the director of the laboratory at ranger six flew out to d.c. and sat with
president johnson on an open phone line to mission control back at the lab in pasadena and they heard a live feed of ranger six as it approached the lunar surface. you can imagine what this moment is like. the room is quiet. it is intense. everyone is waiting. and suddenly they hear a voice. bring on avon, and walk in fragrant beauty. everyone looks around at each other. where is this voice coming from? surely this is not coming from the moon. then they realize that in pasadena they switched feeds with the queen of outer space contest. this is an incredibly embarrassing moment. even worse is when they learned that ranger six had also failed. what i found interesting in my research was that the first successes in the space raised were not to the moon, but to the planets.
mariner two launched in 1962 and was the world's first interplanetary spacecraft. it flew by venus and gave us the first look at temperature and heat and wind on the planet. at the same time in 1964, we were struggling to get a camera to the moon but we were able to launch mariner four to mars with a camera. mariner 4 mission was very exciting. it was the first time we had ever sent a camera to another planet. there was a real feeling, even amongst scientists at the time, that this would give us the first look at life on mars. it took 8.5 hours for the data from the photographs to be beamed back to earth. even after, it would take many more hours for the electronic computers to resolve the images
and create real photographs. but for the group at jpl, they could not wait. they were too excited to see what would be on the photographs. so as soon as the data started coming back from mariner 4, they started printing out the data in strips and pasted the strips on a wall in the lab and created a color by numbers system for the data where they assigned each range of data its own color and then the group in the lab began coloring in the blanks and coloring in each number. at this point, the media relations people at the lab were getting pretty nervous because they did not want all of the
press to see this image. but as often happens, the media did see it and it was this image, hand-painted and pastels by the group at jpl, that was the first image of mars first shown on tv. the first look at the red planet for everyone on earth. somewhat more beautiful than the you could argue that it is somewhat more beautiful than the real photographs, certainly more colorful. despite these trips to venus and mars, we did eventually get to the moon. ranger 7 made it to the lunar surface and took pictures of the sea of tranquility, which paved the way for apollo 11 in 1969. related women's fingerprints are all over the mission, not only because of these reconnaissance pictures, but because of the rocket and propellant they helped develop. even the first words, one small step, was made possible because
of the space network the women labor to build. something else remarkable happened in 1969. the women finally became engineers. this was a big deal. not only did they get a pay raise, but they felt they were finally getting the recognition they deserved. this is helen lane, still supervisor of the group at this time. she decides as exciting as it is for them to be engineers, she wants to bring in more female engineers into her group. this is not so easy to do. that is because at this time, most engineering schools are still closed to women. caltech for example did not open its doors to women until 1970. even then, it only admitted three female students. so helen devises a plan to work around this. she begins seeking out women that have bachelor degrees in math and computer science. she hires them in the lab, trains them, and sends them to a
local night school for engineering. by doing this, she is able to fill the lab with female engineers who otherwise would not have gotten the door. it is a good thing she does, because these female engineers are needed for a very exciting mission that the lab is about to embark on called the grand tour. this mission took advantage of a one in 175 year alignment of the planet in order to send a spacecraft to the outer planets. the group at jpl was dreaming of looking at planets that no spacecraft had gone to before. jupiter, saturn, uranus, neptune, pluto. in 1970, nasa experienced massive budget cuts and the grand tour was canceled. the group at jpl felt this was
unacceptable. they had to take advantage of this moment. so a small group of engineers, including sylvia miller who had been hired and trained by helen, came in one weekend with the goal of saving the grand tour. they came up with a trajectory that used something called gravity assistance. they used the gravitational pull of the planets to act like a slingshot, sending a spacecraft farther and farther into space. by doing so, they were able to save costs by cutting down on the size of the spacecraft and how much fuel they needed to use. it was this trajectory that the voyagers followed in 1977, when they were launched. they went all the way to the outer planets. not pluto, that was later. they not only changed text books for the time, but they gave us all of these beautiful images. the voyagers are still going. voyager 1 and 2013 is the first
man-made object to have left our solar system. it was not just made by men. the women's careers have often -- have also kept going. in 1980, they began working on magellan, a return to venus. they worked on a return to jupiter and a study of jupiter's moons, including finding saltwater. in the 1990's, the same group of women began sending rovers to mars. by the late 1990's, after careers of 40 years to 50 years at nasa, most of the group was ready to retire. in 2013, i held a reunion of this group of women at the jpl and it was such a remarkable experience to get to be in the lab with them and share their memories firsthand.
-- hear their memories firsthand. i was surprised how much of their history had been forgotten by nasa. one is the story of sue finley, who was hired in 1958 by macy roberts before nasa was officially formed. she still works there today. she is nasa's longest-serving female employee. in 2004, nasa made a new administrative rule that if you do not hold an advanced degree, you cannot have the title of engineer. so that title that sue worked so hard to get in 1969 was taken away from her and she was demoted. despite this, even though she went to school at a time when women were not generally allowed in engineering schools, she loves her job and working at jpl and does not have any plans to
retire. despite this, even though she went to school at a time when women were not generally allowed in engineering schools, she loves her job and working at jpl and so i wanted to write this book to tell the history of these women because they very much deserve it but also hopefully to inspire the next gen race of scientists and engineers and we're seeing in particular a lack of women in computer science so in 1984 37% of bachelor degrees in computer science were awarded to women and today that number is at about 16%. we also see that about half of all women in science technology, engineering and math end up leaving mid career and in addition to that, we see a real stagnating interest in stem among high school graduate women. in red on top are male high school graduates and over the past two decades, those levels have been steadily kline -- climbing and are now at about 45%. whereas in blue on the bottom for female high school graduates, those numbers haven't
changed much in the past two decades and are right now at about 15%. fortunately there are a lot of groups looking to change this. you have wonderful organizations such as girls who code that are going in and trying to get young women interested in computers and science early on and you also have some universities that have made some significant changes. this is data from harvey mudd college in california and in 2005 they found that about 15% of their bachelor degrees in computer science were awarded to women so they decided to make a few changes. first, they changed their introductory computer science majors so that anyone, even someone else with no background in the major could get started. they then made research opportunities available sooner and began sending their female computer science students to the gas hoffer science in computing.
now about half of their graduates in computer science are now women, so we know there are changes we can make on an institutional level that can make a big difference. and familiar other bright spots as well. 2016 marks the first year that nasa's astronaut class was half women and at the jet propulsion laboratory, there are more women employed at every level than at any other nasa center and that is really thanks to helen and barbara and sue and this incredible group of pioneers in american space flight that paved the way. this is my daughter. [laughter] so we did name her eleanor frances and she is named in part for a woman who sadly i never had the chance to meet.
eleanor frances helene passed away a year before i started my research by -- but i hope that her story and that of these other women will one day inspire my daughter too so thank you so much for listening. i really appreciate it. thank you for having me here. [applause] thank you, that talla and we're going to -- nathalia and we're going to take some questions now. meghann is filling in for kelly tonight so we'll take as many questions as we can. well, i don't -- where's my man? [laughter] somebody else about to start us off tonight? >> you focused on j.p.l.
and i've never been there. by the way, bill, u.v.a. was the last state university in the county to allow -- country to allow women in graduate programs. >> you would have to remind me to have that. >> thank you. i have been to huntsville in the marshall center. did the same rules apply there? that was verner von braun, disney and all that? >> yes in huntsville there was also a large group of female come purets and they ended up mostly losing their jobs after i.b.m.'s came into the lab. but it is incredible how about nasa centers already -- there are all across the country and what role they played in all of these missions. >> questions, questions? i can't believe it. you stunned them, nat.
here we go. would you pass this over, please? >> in relates to the info graphic that you showed that indicated that about half of the women left they are stem jobs. where did they go? >> well, many women that are leaving academia in the sciences will often find roles that are sort of outside what we normally think of in terms of science careers. so many of them will go into teaching and other roles like that. but i'm not sure that we really have a great idea of where they're all going and how we can keep women into these fields. i don't feel like that has been well addressed at all. do you any it was lack of advancement that's driving them out? why are they leaving? >> it's hard for me to answer
that. i think there are many reasons why someone would leave mid career. part of that may be that there are family considerations that happen. it can be difficult being in academia, as i'm sure many of you know and especially it's not always easy to balance roles for many of these women living mid career, it's a time when they do have children. but i'm not really well versed enough into the research. and i'm sure there are many people going into this, i hope so, that are looking into why people leave and ways that we can retain them. thank you. >> building on that question, i'm wondering are there any studies that have been done or are being done as to why young women are not going into the stem programs? well, i think what's very
compelling is that data from harry mudd. they're not the only college to have done this. i used them as an example but other colleges have taken a similar approach. even though you have that stagnating interest among college graduates, there are things we can do to bring women back into these majors. it's not simply because they're not interested in computers or stem fields. we know there are these concrete actions that can bring women back into magets that there used to be more plentiful. >> i don't know if you ever found this -- she used to teach music here. sandra bullock's mother. her grandfather was a german rocket scientist.
active book "operation playbook list." i don't know if the russians got him or he came over here with von braun. have you ever heard anything? her mother used to teach music here armory washington. she was an opera singer. german opera singer. >> i don't know that i've ever heard that. it sounds very interesting. >> ok, back there? >> ok, so -- basically i personally think we should start getting people, especially girls, into stem fields pretty much as soon as possible, like the younger the better. uh, so how young would you suggest we start? like doing that, you know? >> it's a good question. and i am certainly with you in spirit.
i'm not an educator so i don't know what the best age is but i certainly do know from giving talks at a lot of elementary schools and junior high schools, there is something just compelling about science. it doesn't have to be just for girls. i think young people in general find the top i said interesting and especially if you have a great teacher, it can make all the different -- difference in the world about getting you excited about a field so even if we're foot trying to necessarily drive young boys or girls into science careers, there's value in getting young people excited about science in at an early age. back there? yeah. i just want to say i have a daughter that got her under graduate degree from u.v.a. in aerospace engineering and she went on to get mer master's degree in aero space engineering from u.v.a.
and she now works at boeing with satellites and i was surprised at the number of women that actually work with her there so i know that there are a lot of people in that field. of course, we can get more women in any field but it was a surprising amount of people that are women that work at boeing with my daughter and one of the reasons she became interested at an early age was "star trek" and "star wars" and her father was an engineer and we spent a lot of dinners watching "star trek" and talking about that. so i think stars like that now that piques young people's interest in space is really a catalyst that helps promote that. but there are a lot of women out there that we maybe don't know about that arer in controlling our satellites. that's a good point and you must be very proud of your daughter. i have toured spacex and blue
origin and some of these private space flight companies and i've been really astounded by how many women i see. in some ways their percentages are higher than what you have at nasa among science and engineers today and many of nose companies are also kind of going on the google playbook of offering a lot to their employees so i know that one offered in-house darrick and they have a lot of great benefits for their employees so i think that's a wonderful way to attract, of course, both men and women but hopefully make it easier for a lot of young people to stay in the field. s here's a question, down front. thank you. >> you've done a very fine job researching a complex area of technology. i'm wondering what your academic experience has been in science.
>> so i have a ph.d. in molecular biology and i don't know a woman in science who hasn't had some type of negative experienceful. i think it really is just sort of par for the course and that probably could be said for most anyone who has endured graduate school, of course. but i've been fortunate enough to work with wonderful advisors and wonderful faculty in my career so i feel very fortunate that i've had those experiences. especially for my graduate school, i had a female advisor who really felt passionate about supporting her students and i think that means so much. when you have people, especially other women faculty who are willing to invest in their students. that makes a big difference. >> i wanted to thank you very much for the lecture. i thought it was wonderful and i
loved your book. my son gave to it me as a present and i read it and i really edge ined i want. i am an aerospace engineer. my husband and i are both aerospace engineers and we raised our three children, we took them to los angeles, science museums and all three turned out to be liberal arts majors. [laughter] >> so -- but they are liberal arts majors with a really good background in science and math. but i really appreciate you bringing that to my attention. i started studying engineering in 1974 and that was only two years after my college, the polytechnic institute of new york allowed women to take engineering. so it was trail blazers like those people that allowed know do that. i only worked for four years as an engineer in the army and i stayed at home to raise my
children and now i teach math and science in middle school. as much as we can do. everybody has their own choices but it's stories like this that can inspire people and show them what can happen so thank you very much. >> thank you. [applause] >> question back here. >> i actually had one question and a comment that goes with it. on the graph that you displayed with the interest in the stem fields, i saw a stark drop in interest around both genders displayed around 2004. do you know if there was a reason for that? just people lost interest? >> i'm not sure. i don't know what the reason might be is it's interesting, though. i'm curious, too, what that could be. i'm also very familiar with the discrimination against women, in engineering specifically. both of my parents have degrees in engineering. my mother rourked at loral and
also worked at lockheed when it was lockheed martin and at one point probably about 25 years ago, she was applying for jobs in the mechanical engineering field and she was told that there are two things wrong with her. her age and her sex and that was outright discrimination in the hiring field for a woman who at the time had -- i believe she had a bachelor's and a master's in mechanical engineering and she was still told they didn't want to hire her because she's a woman. she's still working for lockheed martin to this day and she has no intention of leaving. very impressive. >> it is interesting the experience of this group of women. it is different than in many other nasa centers. they were really colleagues with the men they worked with. that's not to say there weren't some bad things that happened, as there are in every workplace but what i found was that for the most part the men at j.p.l.
did support this group of women and we see that in their early publications so even in the 19 50's and 19 sixth, they were actually including the female computers on their publications and that was very rare for the time but it ended up making a big difference for their careers later on. >> i was wondering when the women were called engineers, did their jobs actually change or did their titles just change? their titles and salaries changed but their jobs really did not change. >> do you have another question, meghann? >> hi. so i actually majored in computer science. i have two degrees in computer science and i actually -- building on what she was saying in 2004.
it was difficult to get jobs around that time. it was right after 9/11, they weren't hiring people like that i don't know why but -- and i think there may have been a softening of the economy so that could be why. why she was what -- why. yeah. i'm not good at this. [laughter] thank you, though. >> all right. any more questions? yes, here's one. >> glass ceiling that you kind of spoke of or gender discrimination, is this a national problem or an international problem? does the soviet union during this time period have the same problem? did germany in the 1940's have that problem or the women during that period have that problem or is this just an american thing? >> this is such a great question and i wish i had the answer for
you. i'm particularly curious myself what the role of women were in the soviet union during this time. certainly they were far advanced of us in terms of getting women into space so it seems as if women may have had somewhat of a larger role in their space program, but i don't know the answer and i am really curious. it's a good question. >> go ahead, last one. >> i wanted to ask what you thought about public interest in what goes on in space, because i remember sputnik going after as a little girl and our whole neighborhood was out there, you know, is that it? is that it? now when i hear things about the international space station, i think it's amazing that this international crew is floating around up there, sometimes printing what they need on a 3-d
printer but there's very little public awareness -- to me, there doesn't seem to be an excitement about it and i wondered if you have anything to say about that. >> i think that's true. i often find that sometimes people will say to menacea isn't really doing anything interesting right now. of course there are really exciting missions that are happening, especially on the outer planets. it is a source of frustration. i'm certain it must be for those working at nasa right now. fortunately, there are some projects, as much as mars rovers, that i think will always garner programs a little more attention than they should because they are so exciting. but in general it's easier for our news cycle to be swept up by so many other stories that perhaps those stories of space exploration could linger around a little longer. it is amazing how we're able to launch these space craft that
are able to go off and take these beautiful pictures of jupiter and saturn and spend -- send them back to earth. >> let me call your attention to what's coming up this thursday. there we go. j.r.r. tolkein, a topic that many of you will be very interested in i'm sure and i hope you'll come back on thursday for our next presentation. before she goes on to sign books, let's give a big thank you to nathalia holt. [applause]
every weekend, american history bring -- tv brings you unique programming exploring our nation's past. to view the schedule and an archive, visit c-span.org. watch archival films on public affairs each week on our series real america. p.m. and at10:00 4:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv. here's a quick look at one of our recent programs. spanish]in >> california farmworkers, nearly half a million of them produce more crops than any other state. showrofits of their labor up in the dividends of corporations, stock market
quotations, in the affluence of the owners. farmworkers, the return is poverty. the organization of agricultural workers has been called the taskest unfinished tax -- beaching the labor movement. ill from begine and they took me to the hospital, i was unconscious. i stayed there nine days. two weeks after i got home, i was sick in bed and could not do any work. hospital forhe nine days with poisoning. when i came home, i was not able to do any housework for months. >> i contacted poisoning while
begin lemons in an orchard. i became dizzy, 60 my stomach, -- sick to my stomach, and i passed out and the and felix took me to the hospital for 90 days. it left me with dizziness, balance, ande, bad i have not been able to work since. >> school history books do not record the work of farmworkers and organized unions. imagine 13, the pickers of the meeting toa peaceful protest low wages and unsanitary living conditions. sheriff's deputies fired into the crowd. two men were killed and many others injured area to leaders went to prison. was a scene in 1961
of what until then was the most successful guild strike since the strike of 1948. for $1.25 per hour. these are fieldworkers putting their tools down and coming out on strike. 30 years.ecedent, in at the end of the struggle, there was not clear-cut victory. there was momentum. those who could detect the signs saw a new day coming. in 1961, el centro marks a new -- turning point in a long road. [singing in >> watch archival films in their entirety on our week series real america. saturday at 10:00 p.m. and sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern here
on american history tv. next on lectures in history. tulane university professor ugeberg teaches a class about the legal history of abortion in the united states from the 1840's through 2016. she discusses laws in the late 19th century that originally criminalized abortion as well as roe v. wade and the court cases and registration -- legislation that followed that decision. her classes about one hour and 15 minutes. prof. haugeberg: we are nearing the end of this semester. today's lecture gives us a good way to bring together a lot of the themes we have been studying all semester. today we talk about reproductive rights. for today's reading, you read about jurisprudence since roe v. wade.