African American History Black History Month

Feb 12: Black Women Scientists

By Gennell Jasper

Josephine Silone Yates, 1852-1912
First black woman to head a college science department and possibly the first black woman to hold a full professorship at any U.S. college or University. source: Wikipedia.
Alice Ball. Developed the “Ball Method,” the best treatment for leprosy in the early 20th century.

“The erasure of Black history creates the misconception that Black issues are inauthentic or rooted in laziness rather than institutional discrimination.”

Science is an ever-evolving subject with many moving parts and related entities affected by its advancements. Some incredibly important chemical advancements were made by Black women, whether they be increasing the number of Black people enrolled in higher education or altering molecules to treat illnesses.

“I had no idea that these women existed before working on this project…”

Josephine Silone Yates (1859-1921) and Marie Maynard Daly (1921-2003) were both influential in academia. Both earned chemistry degrees, became professors, and formed programs to increase the number of Black people pursuing higher education. Because of their work, women like Bettye Washington Greene (1935-1995), Alma Levant Hayden (1927-1967), and Alice Ball (1892-1916) were successful in earning several patents for latex, proving that a popularly used compound was not a cure for cancer as it was claimed to be, and developing a treatment for leprosy, respectively.

Marie Maynard Daly. Queens College Silhouette Yearbook, 1942.
First African American woman to receive a doctorate in chemistry in the United States; conducted important studies on cholesterol, sugars, and proteins; worked to increase enrollment of non-white students in medical schools and graduate science programs. Source:

The breakthroughs made by these women were not only impressive at the time, but continue to be significant to this day. In 2020 various organizations still work to increase the number of minorities participating in higher education in the STEM fields. The accomplishments made by these women should be widely taught and publicized such that more individuals may be inspired to increase diversity in fields where minimal perspectives are offered.

Bettye Washington Greene.
First African American female Ph.D. chemist to work in a professional position at Dow Chemical Company, where she researched latex and polymers.
Source: Wikipedia.

I find this theme interesting and important because I am a Black woman studying chemistry, and I am currently the only person of my demographic in the chemistry department here at SFU. I had no idea that these women existed before working on this project, and it is somewhat comforting to know that multiple women have been in my exact position before.

This theme relates most to the creation of Black History Month. Carter G. Woodson was frustrated with the fact that the accomplishments of Black individuals were not being publicized, and therefore could not be properly celebrated. If it were not for my research, I would have never known that these women existed, let alone learning about the accomplishments and scientific advancements they made. The need for universal celebration for Black history and culture is important because the current issues that face Black people were not created in a vacuum, which has also been mentioned in class. The erasure of Black history creates the misconception that Black issues are inauthentic or rooted in laziness rather than institutional discrimination.

Alma Levant Hayden
Chemist; one of the first African American women to work in a scientist position in a national science agency (National Institutes of Health).


African American History Black History Month

Feb 10: Fred Hampton

August 30, 1948-December 4, 1969

Fred Hampton.
Source: wikipedia

He related to Black History Month in so many ways because he created a movement that went against inequality and police brutality toward people of color.

by Tyreese Haugabrooks

I honestly would say that Fred Hampton has always been one of the most misunderstood individuals as well as an important ambassador to the history of Blacks. As many may not know, Fred Hampton was known for his personal charisma combined with his organizing skills and gift of speech which allowed him to be noticed and quickly rise within the Black Panthers. He was also known for developing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Organization in which he helped gain its national popularity. According to an article from “Rediscovering Black History”, “Fred Hampton was born on August 30, 1948 in Maywood, Illinois”.Hampton died in 1969 his death was very much so mysterious and claimed to have been seen as an execution then having police action taken place. He was also mistreated such as him being drugged supposedly by O’Neal in his sleep and sleeping through it. Through all the trials of growing up in such a rural environment, he was gifted in academics and athletics in which as a child he wanted to play for the New York Yankees but ended up studying pre-law at Triton Junior College.

However, around this time he became inspired to study law to use it as a defense against police and their brutality. Doing his time in the Organization, he increased the Council’s membership to over 500 members. He also had brokered a nonaggression pact between Chicago’s most powerful and dangerous street gangs which led to him gaining tons of recognition and getting unwanted attention from the FBI which was the reason he got murdered

From my perspective on Fred Hampton, I honestly believe that he was highly important to our culture in history although people didn’t mention or give him the credit he deserved. What made him so important to our culture and Black History was that he was a significant part of our development as a whole in which he helped develop the The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He related to Black History Month in so many ways because he created a movement that went against inequality and police brutality toward people of color. This NAACP movement opened up a lot of opportunities for those who didn’t have a voice or platform to be heard. More than less, Hampton’s leadership abilities were apparent. It also created another accolade which granted him an opportunity from the Party’s Ten Point Program that integrated black self determination and elements of Maoism which motivated Hampton to join and relocate to Chicago.

He was an essential part to the success of Black History. Given to his personal charisma and skills, he became the leader of the Chicago Chapter. Becoming this leader for a such a big chapter gave him many duties such as organizing rallies, working with the People’s Clinic, and for the Free Breakfast Program. Following Hampton’s success with the BBP, it had captured the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Haas recounts the life of Fred Hampton, a community activist radicalized by the antiwar and Black Power movements, who gained a spot on the FBI’s Key Agitator Index. Haas draws parallels with his own upbringing in Atlanta’s upper-middle-class Jewish community, witnessing discrimination but doing nothing to challenge it until he came to Chicago. Haas chronicles the events leading to Hampton’s assassination and the aftermath, the years of investigation, and the discovery of a connection between the Chicago police action and the FBI investigation of black leaders.”


African American History Black History Month

Feb 9: Eric Gardner and LeBron James

by Dakota Graham

Lebron James & Kyrie Irving wearing warmups in support of Garner.

For this project, I decided to focus on how LeBron James, the NBA super star, honored Eric Garner, an African American man. Eric Garner was a man who lived in Staten Island, New York. On July 17, 2014, he was going about his everyday life selling cigarettes when NYPD Officers started a conflict. They accused Garner of selling cigarettes without tax stamps. Garner asked the officers to stop harassing him and to let him be. After that, officers attacked him for allegedly not cooperating with them. Eric Garner was then placed in a choke hold by Officer Pantaleo. While in the choke hold, on the ground gasping for air, Garner repeatedly stated, “I can’t breathe.” From there on, an ambulance was called and Garner was taken to the hospital. He was announced dead later that day. Officer Pantaleo ended up not being accused for this crime.

I think that it is inspirational when famous athletes stand up for what they believe in because it lets their followers know that they are allowed to stand up for what they think is right too.

These actions caught the attention of LeBron James. On December 8, 2014, James and Kyrie Irving, another NBA player, wore warmup shirts before their game that said, “I can’t breathe,” in honor of Eric Garner. They both wanted to show their support. Lebron James specifically wanted to support Garner and his family. In the postgame interview that night Lebron stated, “This is more of a motion to the family more than anything. As a society, we have to do better. We have to be better for one another, no matter what race you are. But it’s more of a shotout to the family more than anything. They’re the ones that should be getting all the energy and effort,” (TIME Magazine). I think what happened to Eric Garner was wrong and what Lebron James and a few others did was a great way to show their respect and support in honor of what happened.


I thought that this case of LeBron James was interesting because I love when famous athletes get involved with the community, show their support, and demonstrate what they stand for. The thing that interested me the most about this topic was how doing something as simple as wearing a shirt to honor someone can go a very long way and shows respect. I think that it is inspirational when famous athletes stand up for what they believe in because it lets their followers know that they are allowed to stand up for what they think is right too. Famous athletes inspire people to accomplish things they never thought they could do.

I also thought that this topic was important because it shows that this kind of treatment toward African Americans is unfair, unjust, and not right. This sad case that happened with Eric Garner relates to Black History Month because these kinds of actions and treatment towards African Americas should never go unnoticed. Everyone is equal in my eyes and there is no reason why African Americans should be discriminated against.

The month of February is a time we take to honor, respect, and reflect upon on all African Americans. The meaning of Black History Month is deeper than just recognizing someone, but rather reflecting upon how they still impact our world today. The topic of Eric Garner relates to the meanings of Black History Month because Garner should never be forgotten. What happened to him should never happen to anyone. There are still too many other scenarios like what happened to Eric Garner present in our societies today. These kinds of actions need to be stopped. Also, the way that LeBron James honored Garner depicts the meaning of February because LeBron knew the actions taken toward Garner were wrong and LeBron wanted to take a stand for what he believes in. If more people took the time to really honor Black History Month and learn what it is about, perhaps there would be less discrimination and violence toward African Americans today. Overall, I truly did enjoy researching this topic and hope that this upcoming February can honor and impact many lives.

African American History Black History Month

Feb 8: Rita Dove

born August 28, 1952

by Adiya Golden

My Black History Month vignette is about the African American poet and writer Rita Dove. She was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. Her parents taught her the value of education at a young age, and she excelled in all her academic ventures. In high school, Rita was named a Presidential Scholar. From there, she went on to attend Miami University in Ohio. She received a Fulbright to study at the University of Tübingen in West Germany. Lastly, she earned her Masters of Fine Arts at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

As Poet Laureate, she served as the official poet of the United States which means she seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.

Rita Dove wrote many poems and works that received great praise. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her verse novel Thomas and Beulah. She also received the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Heinz Award in Arts and Humanities, and the Common Wealth Award. In 1996, she received a National Medal in Humanities. In 1993, she served as the Poet Laureate of the United States. She was the youngest poet and first African American Poet to be elected to this position. Now, Rita Dove teaches English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Rita Dove is an inspiration to people everywhere. She demonstrates how hard work and dedication can lead to a fulfilling life.

Rita Dove is not only important to African American history but all United States history. She was the first African American poet laureate and also the youngest to be elected to the honor. I found this interesting because I love poetry and literature. I read Rita Dove’s poem “Roast Possum,” during my literature class. This poem is important because it shows how the black man was put down by white for so long. Her poems are known for incorporating history and political themes into lyrical writings. Rita Dove’s writings and poems are important because they tell history from a different side and in a different way.

It is important to celebrate those who create, so in the future people can look to them for inspiration. Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio a city not too far from here. She shows how it does not matter what background you come from, everyone has something to contribute. Rita Dove is not usually someone mentioned when discussing Black History Month, but she has done so much for our country. As Poet Laureate, she served as the official poet of the United States which means she seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry. The arts in the United States are often viewed as nonimportant subjects, however, expressing creativity through poetry is beautiful. Through Rita Dove’s poetry and writings, readers get to see a different perspective through a creative outlet.

African American History Black History Month

Feb 7: Marsha P. Johnson

by Victoria Geiser

Marsha P. Johnson
Image source:

Marsha P. Johnson was a woman who profoundly affected not only the black community, but the LGBTQ community as well. As a black, transgender woman who worked as a drag performer as well as a sex worker, it is clear to say that she was a voice for those who needed it. She was an integral part of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, where protesters stood up against unjust police brutality and harassment in Greenwich Village in New York. One year later, Johnson and her friend Sylvia Rivera became leaders of the first gay pride parade. By using their newly acquired power, the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) group was founded, and worked to offer housing to homeless and transgender youth. Unfortunately, speaking up for groups that aren’t looked upon positively by (white) society had put a target on her back, and in 1992, her body was found in the Hudson River. However, the efforts made by Marsha P. Johnson have not gone unrecognized. She spoke up against injustice toward marginalized groups, focusing on the intersectionality of black, LGBT people. While both the black community and the LGBTQ community face their own discrimination, there is a greater deal for those who fall into both of those categories, and Marsha P. Johnson fought for the rights of all.

The reason I was interested in Marsha P. Johnson is because of her involvement within the LGBTQ community; I personally have never been to a Pride celebration, but I am well aware of her part in the creation of such a tradition. At first, I wasn’t sure who to write about because I wanted to choose someone that isn’t commonly talked about. While I have heard of Marsha P. Johnson before, I feel as if I am only familiar with her name due to the Stonewall Riots and Pride.

I feel that someone who isn’t heavily involved with LGBT matters would not be aware of her existence. Because I take pride in my sexuality, I thought she was a great person to highlight her importance in my own life.I believe that Marsha P. Johnson is definitely an important figure to discuss during Black History Month because first, she’s black, and furthermore, she was so much more than that. She broke many barriers and was part of so many “controversial” niches. Being a transgender woman who regularly participated in drag performances and was a sex worker, she was not unfamiliar to scrutiny. I think she would be a good person to consider a role model, due to how many different marginalized groups she was a voice for.

Relating back to what has been discussed in class, I think it is necessary to note that once again history is not created in a vacuum. A large percentage, if not all, of the main efforts made by Marsha P. Johnson were in response to injustice being carried out against black and gay people. The Stonewall Riots took place in response to a gay bar being shut down, which was unnecessary and discriminatory. She also spoke up against police brutality and harassment that was occurring at the time. None of the events randomly sprung up, there was a great deal of discrimination taking place that lead to someone taking action, thus effectively creating a name for themselves.

African American History Black History Month

Feb 6: The Central Park Five

by Olivia Noll

Clockwise from top left, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, Marquis Rodriguez, Jharrel Jerome, Ethan Herisse, Asante Blackk and Caleel Harris.Credit…Brad Ogbonna for The New York Times

Image source:

” To me, it is incomprehensible that these young boys were convicted of the crime in the first place”

The Central Park Five are a group of five males, four African Americans and one Latino. In 1989, the group of boys, ranging from ages 14 to 16, were falsely accused of raping a white female jogger in Central Park, New York City. The boys received sentences ranging from six to thirteen years. The attack highlighted racial tensions in the city, particularly about African American youth. In 2002, the case was solved after the confession from Matias Reyes, serial rapist and murderer. The DNA evidence confirmed that the Central Park Five were truly innocent. The five males, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, known as the Central Park Five received a $41 million settlement and the charges were lifted. Recently, Netflix created a mini-series telling the story of the Central Park Five titled When They See Us.


I saw a preview for the mini-series “When They See Us” on Netflix; I think the topic is interesting due to the recent spotlight it has got in the media through Netflix. I wanted to read more about the case and find out information about the young males involved. It is interesting to look back into history, although this is not too far back in time, and see how the trends still remain today. It is not uncommon for us to hear about the injustice of the criminal justice system, especially involving people of a different race. To me, it is incomprehensible that these young boys were convicted of the crime in the first place.

If the color of their skin were different, they probably would not have been convicted of the crime in the first place. People still believe for this to be somewhat true today. – that those of a different race, receive harsher punishment than those who are white. I have read studies that African Americans receive longer sentences than white men for the same crimes committed. This story is proof that there is still injustice for people of color.

It is important during Black History Month to look and bring attention to the themes that are still pertinent today. Should we not be concerned that this is still happening? We really should. The unfairness to those of a different race in 2020 blows my mind. And while we think it all ended with the end of the Civil Rights Movement, it did not. It is still happening.

As a future educator, I think Black History Month holds great importance. Although I will instill good values in my students all the time, Black History Month is a great way to shine light on the past in order to help shape the future young minds. By recently bringing the Central Park Five story back into the spotlight, hopefully people realize that what happened in 1989 still happens to a certain degree today.


African American History Black History Month

Feb 5: Edna Lewis

April 13, 1916 – February 13, 2006

Edna Lewis
Image source:

by John “Jack” Weidner

“the perfect representation of African American History, and also the American Dream”

All great food tells a story. The smells describe a region; the ingredients describe a people. A dinner is often the remnants of a struggle for life—the price of putting love onto a plate. So how does one woman tell the story of America with lard, butter, and country ham?

To discover the answer, one cannot just comb through the pages of African American chef Edna Lewis’s cookbooks, but must truly taste the gold it describes. The tales she told with food that earned her the title of the “Grande Dame of Southern Cooking,” and even “the South’s answer to Julia Child,” but when she was born in 1916, she was simply the granddaughter of a freed slave living in Freetown, Virginia. Back then, cooking was not a profession to her but a way of life. It connected community members to each other and as well as the land.

Lewis came from a family of great cooks. They cooked according to the season and used the recipes that were developed by black chefs from the plantations. Lewis took in all she could, and in 1932, followed the Great Migration north to New York City. She worked as a domestic, doing odd jobs here and there, and while in the epicenter of the “New Negro,” she hosted dinner parties for her friends. It was through this that she met Johnny Nicholson, an antiques dealer who was opening a restaurant. He gave her the chance to be the head chef at Café Nicholson, and she quickly became a supreme name in New York’s culinary scene. She served southern meals the likes of Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and William Faulkner, but she left after only five years. She returned home to the South.

Her life became dedicated to becoming a champion of Southern cuisine and establishing it as a true artform. She sought to show the world that chicken was a canvas that could be painted with a skillet and fats to become a masterpiece, that it had far more to offer than the deep-fried, greased mound most of us are familiar with today—and she did. Lewis’s food tastes of passion and dignity. There is a pride in her past that represents the cherished qualities of all that is America. What does it mean to be American? Look down at your plate.


On Edna Lewis’ legacy:

I found out about Ms. Lewis from watching the Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table (you should totally check it out). It was an episode about a southern black female chef named Mashama Bailey. She is the head chef at The Grey restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. At one point in the episode, she beings to discuss the connection that African Americans have with the food in the south. She spoke about it being more than a meal—it was community. Later in the episode, Bailey spoke about the different chefs that inspired her. She named a few, but the one that stuck out was Edna Lewis. Bailey said that Lewis showed the world that Southern cooking could be “gourmet,” and that a piece of fried chicken could be just as prestigious as foie gras. I quickly googled Lewis, ordered her first cookbook, and began reading. Her story was everything to me. It was more than remarkable. It was American. It was the story of Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Henry Frick, and even Walt Disney. It was an outsider making a name for themselves in a country that did not want them.This is why I chose Lewis. To me, she was the perfect representation of African American History, but also the American Dream. She was the granddaughter of a freed slave and she rose to become one of the most famous American chefs ever to have lived. She came from nothing, which proves the fact that history does not begin in a vacuum. Lewis struggled to get where she was. She was not born the most famous Southern cook. She embodies the dream of so many minorities in this country, also she was a woman, and not a lot of people discuss women making something great of themselves. Men steal a lot of the glory, but women do so many amazing things. The farther I get into academia, the more I realize that fact to be true. Another reason I think she relates to Black History Month is because she is a huge part of African American history, but people do not know about her, so in this month of reflection, I want her story to be shared. A woman who paved a way for so many black chefs after her deserves to be recognized.

I also think her story is an example of how African American history is entwined with American history (the idea that we discussed in class). Edna Lewis is not simply a black chef; she is an American chef. She helped establish a truly American cuisine, that was developed by slaves in the households of rich white people. Soul food (a term that Lewis separated herself with, but has, nonetheless, became the name we refer to it today) has become synonymous with American food. It is truly American, and Lewis revived it and made it art. Our country owes her a debt, and her efforts must be respected as not just African American, but American.


African American History Black History Month

Feb 3: Mary Eliza Mahoney

The first African American to work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States.

May 7, 1845-January 4, 1926

by Avyana “Ivy” Williams

Mary Eliza Mahoney was an African American born in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 7th, 1845. Mahoney was the first African American to study and work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States. Graduating in 1879, she was also the first African American to graduate from a nursing school. When Mary was a teen, she already wanted to become a nurse. So, Mahoney began to work at the New England Hospital for Women and Children, but she was a janitor, dishwasher, and a cook; before ever reaching a nurse.

Mahoney got accepted to the New England Hospital for Women and Children nursing school at the age of thirty-three. The program was sixteen intense months with first-hand experience. Of the forty-two students of the program, only four completed, one being Mahoney meaning she was the first African American to earn a professional license.


On Mary Eliza Mahoney’s legacy:

I believe Mary Eliza Mahoney was important because she followed her dream no matter what. Mary never gave up because of how hard life was and that really inspires me to keep pushing, no matter how hard life gets. I feel like she relates to Black History Month because it’s a month where significant blacks get recognized and credit for what they did in society. Mary should be in it because many people don’t know her full story and how she became a nurse. She and many other African Americans should be recognized for their hardship in life and to promote a positive outlook for other African Americans to follow their dreams.

Photo of Mary E. Mahoney’s gravesite as it now appears. Photo by Mary Ellen Doona. Image source:
Helen Sullivan Miller at the gravesite of Mary Eliza Mahoney.
image source:

Editor’s note

by Denise Holladay Damico

Mary Eliza Mahoney was commemorated with an award named after her by the National Association for Colored Graduate Nurses in 1936; this award is still given today by the American Nurses Association. In 1973, Helen S. Miller, winner of the 1968 Mahoney Award, led a fundraising drive to erect a monument at Mahoney’s gravesite. The drive was supported by the American Nurses Association and Chi Eta Phi, the national sorority for professional and student nurses. To learn more, visit


African American History Black History Month

Feb 1: Kobe Bryant

August 23, 1978-January 26, 2020

Mural of Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles.
image source:

“He achieved the American Dream as a black man in the world.”

Editor’s Note: Many students in my Spring 2020 African American History course were shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant. Therefore, this year we have chosen to make Bryant our first feature in our Black History Month series. -Denise Holladay Damico, January 31, 2020.

by Ramiir Dixon-Conover

I decided to do my Black history month vignette on Kobe Bryant. Kobe recently died in a helicopter crash January 26 along with his daughter and other’s. Kobe has inspired thousands of people all across the world. Being an athlete, I grew watching Kobe and the Lakers. Kobe is one of the greatest players to play the game of basketball.

A memorial wall at a basketball facility called “House of Kobe” in Valenzuela City, in the Philippines.Credit…Rolex Dela Pena/EPA, via Shutterstock.
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Dwayne Wade, favorite player, looked up to Kobe Bryant coming out of college and pushed to be as great as him on and off the court. Kobe Bryant is a legend who many players in many sports he looks up to him.

Kobe was born in Philadelphia, PA. He changed the game and when he retired in his words, “My life just started”. He was thinking of ways to use “Mamba Mentality” in the outside world to help others. [Editor’s note – read more about “Mamba Mentality” here –]. As a person, many say he was a great person to be around because of how he thought.

Being a basketball player this too affected me because who I never expected for Kobe to go so soon. It will definitely be different without him to be here and affect many people lives who actually knew him.

Growing up playing basketball Kobe Bryant was the player I wanted to be like. He changed the game in many ways. His dedication and hard work was an inspiration for many athletes. What he accomplished in the NBA is very great and historical.

President Barack Obama holds a personalized team jersey presented to him by Los Angeles Lakers guards Kobe Bryant, center, and Derek Fisher, left, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House honoring the 2009 NBA basketball champions, Jan. 25, 2010. Source: Wikipedia.

Not only was a role model on the work but off the court as well. He was an African American man he grew up in the inner city just like I did and beat the odds. He achieved the American Dream as a black man in the world. He was a great husband and father and I wanted to model my future after that. This topic relates to the meaning of Black History Month because we celebrate this month to celebrate the lives of great African American leaders who impacted the world.

Kobe Bryant is one who impacted numerous sports. The way he carried himself as an African American male in today’s society was special. Many great athletes in today’s leagues look up to Kobe and was greatly impacted by it. He was a hero without a cape to myself and thousands of people.

A sand sculpture honoring Bryant at Puri Beach in India was a sign of his global profile and appeal.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.
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African American History Black History Month

Feb 2: Forgotten Black Inventors

by Alexandria Brown

When the term forgotten is used, it simply means someone not known in common history lessons or general knowledge. These people invented important and/or common items, however they are not known as well known as someone like George Washington Carver. For reasons of race, time, or something else; these people are commonly forgotten.

Frederick Jones
Image source:

My first example is Frederick Jones. He invented the thermostat control, motor, and portable air conditioning unit among other things. His work in refrigeration helped transport food and blood throughout World War II. It is not outright stated why he is not commonly known or taught about. The man holds 61 patents and was given an award posthumously in the 90s. Yet, I had never heard of him before. I assume it is as result of him thriving during a period of history against him.

Another inventor I have come across in learning about is Richard Spikes. A number of his patents include the beer tap, turn signals, and automatic gear shifts and transmissions. He was born in the 1807 and died nearly blind during the 1960s. Although his inventions aided the auto world and he may be known there, his name is not general knowledge. Again, it is not outright stated why this is so, considering he holds his own patents. It is safe to assume that taking for granted the important inventions and being born on the wrong side of society are the main reasons for this.

.Marie Van Brittan Brown created the early home security system. She was scared of hate crimes in her area and set up cameras and two-way microphones in order to maintain her security within her own home. She also established an early panic button. Her patent was for a closed circuit security system in 1966. If not for her, modern home security may still be in early development. Considering she was battling hate crimes, it is safe to say being an African American woman is the reason for being forgotten in history. Also, she created the early system, so later developers overshadow her glory.

Detail of Marie Van Brittan Brown’s Home security system design, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Image source: