Black History Month – Inventors

Words by Charles Odugbesan

Black History month is both an acknowledgment and a celebration of black culture and all that it has given us. 14HQ will be paying homage to some of the inspirational and brilliant male and female minds of past, present and future – here we give a salute to innovation, honouring a few groundbreaking feats by historic innovators.

Henry Sampson (1934-2015)

Born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1934, Henry Thomas Sampson Jr is credited as the co creator of the very first cell phone for which he and George H. Miley received their patent in 1971. He was also the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering in the United States (1967).

Madam C. J. Walker (1867-1919)

Madam Walker was born Sarah Breedlove in Delta, Louisiana in 1867. She is widely known as the first black female to become a self made millionaire. She showed her entrepreneurial prowess, building her empire through the development of hair care products for African American women. A philanthropist and an activist also, Madam C. J. Walker is a true inspiration to young black women everywhere.

Garrett Morgan (1877-1963)

Claysville, Kentucky was the birthplace of Garrett Augustus Morgan and Cleveland, Ohio is where we can trace his best work back to. He was an inventor and an entrepreneur that sought to save lives with his creativity. In 1916, he was praised for saving the lives of workers trapped in a tunnel 50ft below Lake Erie. He was able to do this with the help of an invention we know today as the gas mask. In addition, he was granted a patent in 1923 for the creation of the first set of electric traffic signals.

Patricia Bath, Born 1942

Next is a fellow Scorpio, Patricia Bath. She is the first black female doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose (she has 4). The ophthalmologist is responsible for the invention of the Laserphoco Probe. This probe improves the use of lasers removing cataracts from the eye. In the grand scheme of things, Bath’s invention has saved the eyesight of millions. On top of all this, she founded the American Institute for the prevention of blindness in Washington, DC in 1976.

It is astonishing to think that certain inventions and discoveries first made by individuals such as these are still relevant to this very day despite such modern day advances in technology. Truly inspiring are these brilliant minds and long after they are gone, their legacy firmly remains.


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