The Trailblazing Work Of African-American Inventors

The Trailblazing Work Of African-American Inventors

Did you know elevator doors, the blood bank, and the video-game console were all created by African-American inventors? Explore how inventors of color have made a far-reaching impact on modern society.

Everyday Essentials Invented By African-Americans

FYI, the super-soaker is thanks to a black inventor.

02:25

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Lonnie Johnson, a NASA scientist, invented the Super Soaker. (0:13)

  • 2

    Benjamin Thornton created a predecessor to the answering machine, which was a device that attached to a phone and recorded calls. (1:11)

  • 3

    Lewis Latimer improved on the carbon filaments in light bulbs, ensuring that Edison's bulbs lasted much longer than they had in the past. (1:40)

Crucial Inventions Of Three Black Scientists

Without these inventions, you wouldn't be reading this right now.

03:41

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    In the 1960s, James West invented the electret microphone, which revolutionized everything from hearing aids to rock 'n roll. (0:33)

  • 2

    1/3 of all of the patentable inventions inside IBM's original personal computer are still held by Mark Dean. (1:07)

  • 3

    Gerard Lawson developed the very first video-game console, the Fairchild Channel F, which was released a year before the first Atari console. (2:01)

Contributions of Five African-American Chemists

From peanut crops to eye surgery, these scientists forever changed the world.

02:55

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Percy Julian was a pioneer in synthesizing chemicals from plants, including synthetic cortisone to help with arthritis. (0:21)

  • 2

    Patricia Bath invented a new treatment for cataracts called Laserphaco, which is still in wide use today. (1:15)

  • 3

    George Washington Carver researched and introduced methods of crop rotation to save Southern farmland depleted by years of growing only cotton. (1:51)

The Legacy of George Washington Carver

Learn about the man Time Magazine once called "the Black Leonardo Da Vinci."

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