Black people have always been at the forefront of the world’s most popular, innovative and life-changing inventions. Here are just 5 of these innovators you should know about.
Dr Shirley Jackson
Dr Shirley Ann Jackson is a theoretical physicist who has been credited with making many advances in science. She was also the first African-American woman to earn a PhD from MIT. Dr Jackson conducted breakthrough scientific research that enabled others to invent the portable fax, the touch-tone telephone, solar cells, fibre optic cables, and the technology behind caller ID and call waiting.
Inventor and engineer Lewis Latimer was born to parents who had fled slavery. Over the course of his career as a draftsman, Latimer worked closely with Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell helping to patent the lightbulb and telephone. Latimer also designed a number of his own inventions, including an improved railroad car bathroom and an early air conditioning unit.
Lonnie G. Johnson
Lonnie George Johnson is an American inventor, aerospace engineer, and entrepreneur, whose work history includes a U.S. Air Force term of service and a twelve-year stint at NASA, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Johnson invented the wildly-popular Super Soaker water gun, worked on high-performance Nerf dart guns and focuses today on inventions related to clean energy.
Garrett Morgan was an African-American inventor, businessman, and community leader. His most notable inventions were a three-position traffic signal and a smoke hood (the first modern gas mask) notably used in a 1916 tunnel construction disaster rescue. His patents included those for a hair-straightening product and a revamped sewing machine.
Marie Van Brittan Brown
Marie Van Brittan Brown was the inventor of the first home security system. She is also credited with the invention of the first closed-circuit television. Brown’s security system was the basis for the two-way communication and surveillance features of modern security.
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