“Lonnie G. Johnson was born 1949 in Alabama. He invented the Super Soaker. He’s most famous for this, but he’s done some other things too. After college, Johnson joined the U.S. Air Force, where he worked on the stealth bomber program. Then he became an Aerospace Engineer for NASA where he worked on the Galileo Jupiter probe and Mars Observer project. He holds more than 40 patents. More recently he’s been working with scientists at Tulane University and Tuskagee University to develop a method of transforming heat directly into electricity, called the Johnson Thermo-Electrochemical Converter System (JTEC). It was listed by Popular Mechanics as one of the top 10 inventions of 2009 and has potential applications in improving the efficiency of solar power plants.
Cute stories from when he was a kid: He reverse engineered his sister’s doll to understand how the eyes closed. He also almost burned down his own house while making rocket fuel. He built his own go-cart out of an old lawnmower engine and some scraps he found in the junkyard. In high school, he created a robot he named “Linex”, which was a compressed-air powered robot. It won him first prize at the science fair.” (source)
“Dr. Shirley Jackson was born in in Washington D.C. in 1946. She is an American physicist who received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973. She was the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in nuclear physics at MIT. Her experiments with theoretical physics paved the way for numerous developments in the telecommunication space including the touch-tone telephone, the portable fax, caller ID, call waiting, and the fiber-optic cable.
In 2016, President Obama presented Dr Jackson with the National Medal of Science, the federal government’s highest award for scientific achievement.” (source)
“Marian Croak is an American inventor born in 1955. She holds more than 200 patents, primarily in voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP), and other technologies for voice and data networks, and the Internet. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Croak invented a text-to-donate technology that revolutionized how people donate to charitable organizations when a natural disaster occurs. For this innovation, she received the 2013 Thomas Edison Patent Award.
She led more than 2,000 engineers and computer scientists while a senior vice president at AT&T, and is currently vice president of Reliability Engineering at Google. She was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame in 2013.” –source
“Otis Boykin was born in 1920 in Texas. His most famous invention is a control circuit he added to the pacemaker, after his mother died of heart failure. The circuit modifications he made to the pacemaker have saved innumerable lives since.
Boykin, was particularly interested in resistors. In 1959 he received a patent for a wire precision resistor- his resistor was then used in radios and televisions. Two years later, he created a breakthrough chip that could withstand extreme changes in temperature and pressure as well as physical trauma without impairing its effectiveness. The chip was cheaper and more reliable than others on the market. The United States military installed it their guided missles and IBM put it in their computers.
Boykin also invented a chemical air filter and burglar-proof cash register. Boykin had 26 patents in his lifetime.” (source)
“Marie Van Brittan Brown was born in Queens New York in 1922. While she was working as a full time nurse she invented the world’s first home security system in 1966. She wanted to improve the security at her home and devised a system that would alert her of strangers at her door and contact relevant authorities as quickly as possible.
Her original invention consisted of peepholes, a camera, monitors, and a two-way microphone. The finishing touch was an alarm button that, when pressed, would immediately contact the police. Her patent laid the groundwork for the modern closed-circuit television system that is widely used for surveillance, home security systems, push-button alarm triggers, crime prevention, and traffic monitoring.” (source)
“On May 7, 1878, the extendable ladder you see on firetrucks was patented by Joseph Winters.
Joseph Winters was born in 1816 in Virginia to an African-American brick maker and a Shawnee Indian mother. He later relocated to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in 1830, where he became active in the Underground Railroad. He was nicknamed “Indian Dick” by his friends due to his mixed race.
Winters noticed that firemen had to drag ladders off of their wagons in order to climb up to rescue people and use the water hoses. These long ladders made it difficult for the firewagon to navigate through narrow city streets. So he invented the ladders we see on top of fire trucks today, that extend in layers up to great heights.” (source)
“Dr. Patricia Bath is the first African-American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose. Bath holds four patents in the United States. In 1981, she conceived the Laserphaco Probe, a medical device that improves on the use of lasers to remove cataracts. The device — which quickly and nearly painlessly dissolves the cataract with a laser, irrigates and cleans the eye and permits the easy insertion of a new lens. It is used internationally to treat the disease. Bath has continued to improve the device and has successfully restored vision to people who have been unable to see for decades.
Patricia Bath was born in 1942 in Harlem. her father was an immigrant from Trinidad and her mother was a housekeeper. Dr. Bath became the first woman to serve on the staff of the Jules Stein Eye Institute, the first woman to head a post-graduate training program in ophthalmology, the first black person to serve as a resident in ophthalmology at New York University, and the black woman to serve on staff as a surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center. She also founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness in Washington, D.C.” (source)
“Dr. Betty Harris was born in 1940 in Louisiana. She and her 11 siblings were raised on a farm. After gaining her PhD, Harris moved to do research at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she worked in the areas of hazardous waste treatment and environmental remediation as well as explosives chemistry. Areas of focus included explosives detection, safing liquids, synthesis and characterization of insensitive high explosives and sensitivity of weathered high explosives.
Her research in this area led her to obtain a patent for her invention of a spot test for identifying explosives in a field environment, specifically the spot test for detecting 1,3,5-triamino-2,4,6-trinitrobenzene (TATB) in the field.” (source)
“George Robert Carruthers (b.1939) is an award-winning African-American inventor, physicist, and space scientist. Carruthers invented the ultraviolet camera/spectograph for NASA to use when it launched Apollo 16 in 1972. His work also demonstrated that molecular hydrogen exists in the interstellar medium. In 2003, Carruthers was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame. President Obama awarded George Carruthers with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor bestowed by the US upon scientists, engineers, and inventors in 2013.” (source)
“Garrett Morgan was born in Kentucky in 1877, the son of former slaves. With only an elementary school education, he began his career as a sewing-machine mechanic.He opened his own sewing repair shop in 1907. The company turned out coats, suits, and dresses, all sewn with equipment that Morgan himself had made. In 1920, Morgan moved into the newspaper business establishing the Cleveland Call.
Among his inventions was an early traffic signal. After witnessing a collision between an automobile and a horse-drawn carriage, Morgan was convinced that something should be done to improve traffic safety. Morgan was one of the first to apply for and acquire a U.S. patent for a traffic signal. The patent was granted on November 20, 1923. Morgan later had the technology patented in Great Britain and Canada. He also invented a zigzag stitching attachment for manually operated sewing machine.
In 1916, Morgan made national news for using a gas mask he had invented to rescue several men trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel beneath Lake Erie. After the rescue, Morgan’s company received requests from fire departments around the country that wished to purchase the new masks. The Morgan gas mask was later refined for use by U.S. Army during World War I in 1921.” (source)