For this week on Black History “Year,” were going to uncover the impact of famous African American Inventors. On the previous article we talked about inventor and scientist George Washington Carver. This article will just highlight famous inventors.
Our first famous inventor was Doctor Shirley Jackson. Jackson was the first to receive her doctorate in nuclear physics at MIT. Like Carver, Jackson was a scientist and created many advancements in telecommunications, things that included the touch-tone telephone, the portable fax, caller ID, call waiting, and the fiber-optic cable.
Lewis Latimer was an inventor and engineer in the 19th century. He partnered with scientists like Hiram Maxim and Thomas Edison. Latimer helped invent the carbon filament intended for the light bulb, the railroad car bathroom, and the air conditioning unit.
Charles Drew was born 1904 on June 3 in the capital, Washington D.C. Drew worked with Red Cross and made discoveries on transfusions. Drew developed the first large-scale blood banks and blood plasma programs for WWII. He also invented blood mobiles which helped transport blood. Drew was the only African American working in his field. He withdrew from his position because African Americans were not allowed to donate blood. It wasn’t till 1950 that they made all blood donations equal.
Then, there was Elijah McCoy. Elijah McCoy was born May 2, 1844 in Ontario. McCoy was known for 50 inventions in his lifetime. But his most famous one was the lubricating cup. This helped keep planes from sticking to the track and frequently stopping. When other inventors tried to steal his idea, nobody was fooled and wanted the real deal. They called it the “the real McCoy.”
There are many things that we use in our society and even in our house that we don’t know where it come from. Things like our hair brushes which were created by an African American. We are influenced by these creations that we don’t even know about. It’s always good to mindful where our stuff comes from so we don’t take it for granted.
Image Credit: 1998 T. A. Charon (Courtesy of Maxwell Library, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, Massachusetts)