Written by: on February 6, 2020 @ 11:51 am

“Freedom Sun(g)” photo by Jennifer Rangubphai taken at The George Washington Carver Museum

Black History Month is celebrated each February, recognizing the role that African Americans have served in U.S. History. Generations of African Americans faced relentless adversity and their achievements often went overlooked. Many African American scientists, inventors, and engineers developed inventions that helped to advance human history and to make our lives healthier and happier. Let’s learn more about some of these amazing black scientists!

One of the most famous black inventors is George Washington Carver. Carver is often called the Peanut Man, having developed over 300 products using the peanut! These peanut inventions include shampoo, shaving cream, animal feed, dyes, and paper! Contrary to popular belief, Carver did not invent peanut butter. He did help to popularize peanuts with the American public by encouraging use of peanuts to make soaps, axle greases, insecticides, medications, glue, and frying oil!  

Mae Jemison was the first African American woman in space, spending 190 hours, 30 minutes, and 23 seconds in orbit. Jemison has degrees in chemical engineering, African American studies, and even a medical doctorate! After Mae Jemison’s career at NASA, she founded her own company that seeks to develop a love for science in students and helps to bring cutting-edge technology to underprivileged schools around the world!

“My parents were the best scientists I knew, because they were always asking questions.” – Mae Jemison

Garrett Morgan was another trailblazing black inventor. He developed the original traffic signal, a hair-straightening product, and even the first gas mask! Morgan’s breathing device, called the “safety hood,” allowed wearers a safe breathing experience free of smoke, gases, and other pollutants! Originally marketing this breathing apparatus to fire departments, this gas mask was later built upon to provide World War I soldiers from the toxic mustard gas being used in warfare. Though Morgan’s gas mask saved many lives, his business was affected by the racial discrimination of the time. Many people refused to buy his products due to the fact he was African American. Morgan’s inventions saved many lives, from firefighters and soldiers, to all vehicle operators and occupants!

Through education and a passion for science, these black inventors and many others have greatly contributed to advancing the life quality of people around the world. STEM education is the key to unlock a better world, and reaching underrepresented communities draws a unique perspective. Without black scientists there would be no elevators, air conditioning, refrigerators, fire extinguishers, or electric light bulbs.  High Touch High Tech’s hands-on, STEM education model reaches over 16 million students in 11 countries each year. We pride ourselves on reaching the underrepresented in the STEM fields, and dream of a world of diverse scientists.

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