Celebrating the Contributions of Black Scientists, Inventors, and Engineers

“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.

Black History Month

Black History Month

 As we celebrate Black History Month, remember the important contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout our nation’s history!

Elijah McCoy was born in Canada to parents who were slaves and had escaped slavery by way of the Underground Railroad.  His parents really wanted him to get a good education.  But they could not send him to the United States.  So they saved up enough money to send Elijah to Scotland where he studied engineering.  When he completed his studies he went to the United States, eager to work.  But he was really disappointed.  He tried very hard to get a job as an engineer, but nobody would hire him because he was black. Since he needed money he got a job with the railroad.  His job was to shovel coal into the train engine, then stop the machine and oil it by hand.  He started thinking to himself.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could oil this machine without stopping it?  He needed to oil the machine because when 2 moving objects rub up against each other they produce heat.  Scientists call this “friction.”

Frederick Jones was born in Ohio in 1892 and fought in World War I.   He had over 60 patents, but refrigeration was his specialty!  He recognized a problem.  Farmers would load their vegetables on a truck so that the truck could haul the vegetables to a market.  Sometimes, it was a long haul and the food would spoil.  So he invented a refrigeration system for the truck.





Katherine Johnson,  born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.  By thirteen, she was attending the high school on the campus of historically black West Virginia State College. She was a space scientist.  She studied how to steer and direct satellites.



One of HTHT experiments is called, The Real McCoy© So come join us on a fun filled adventure as we discover several very famous African American scientists and learn about their incredible contributions to science! All of  these scientists all had incredible imaginations.  They all had major struggles.  Some of the scientists that we are going to learn about today lived a long time ago.  Some are still alive today.  But they all have several things in common.  They are all African Americans who have overcome obstacles to make significant contributions to the field of science.

Check out our other AWESOME experiments here!

High Touch High Tech, Science Made Fun



Sources: wikipedia.com
Pic Source: google.com