Learning about The Contributions of American Inventors to the 20th & 21st Century

During the months of February & March students learned about several African-American scientist and inventors as well as the Tuskegee pilots & theWright Brothers. During the month of April students will be learning about Bessie Coleman & Amelia Earhart. Tuskegee pilots were the first African-Americans to be trained as aviators during World War II. Students are focusing in  mastering the following learning targets:

Learning Targets:

  • I can identify & explain the work of several African-American inventors of the 20th & 21st Century.
  • I can explain the benefits of learning about Black inventors.
  • I can explain the tragic events of “Black Wall Street” & the consequences of being successful as an African-American living down South in the 19th century.
  • I can explain the work of the Wright Brothers and their contribution to the field of aviation in America.
  • I can explain how the work of the Tuskegee airmen, Bessie Coleman & Amelia Earhart helped to change negative perceptions of African-American men & women’s ability to become license pilots in American.

Information discussed in class about these amazing inventors & aviators can be view in the videos bellow. Information on the exam about African-Americans inventors can be found in this video about Black Inventors of the 20th & 21st Century.  They can view the video or obtain the information on each inventor by scrolling down.

Benjamin Banneker

  • Born 1731, died 1806
  • A farmer
  • A mathematician
  • Astronomer
  • Land surveyor
  • Created the first Clock at the young age of 21 yrs old.
  • Borrowed the pocket watch from a wealthy man, he made observation of the pocket watch, took it apart and learned about the mechanics of it, put it back together and returned it. Based on his observations he created the first clock made entirely of wood..
  • Clock was made entirely out of wood. Started his own watch and clock repair business.

George Crum born 1828 – 1914

  • What did he invent? How did he invent it?
  • Invented the potato chip
  • Frustrated from a patrons dislike of his thick fries he sliced the potato very thin fries it in oil returns it to the patron, who loved it and the potato chip was born. However he did not patent the idea, so he did not own the right to it.

George Washington born 1864- 1943

  • Educator
  • inventor
  • What did he invent? How did he invent it?
  • 300 different uses for peanuts such as:
  • Axel grease
  • Peanut oil
  • Printers ink

Garett A. Morgan

  • Invented the Gas mask -1914 patented
  • Use of the gas mask took off when a group of men were trapped in a tunnel bellow lake Erie and the mask was used to get them out
  • Invented the Traffic light
  • He witnessed an accident
  • Patent received in 1923
  • Sold the idea to General Electric
  • Invented the Hair relaxer

Frederick McKinley Jones

Born 1893-1961

  • What did he invent? How did he invent it?
  • Invented the Automatic Refrigeration System for long haul trucks and railway cars
  • Useful in the transportation of food & other supplies
  • Invented the Air conditioning system used by the military field hospitals and for kitchens.
  • Invented a self starting gas engine
  • Devices for movie projectors
  • Received the National Metal of Technology & Innovation

Charles Richard Drew

  • Born 1904-1950
  • What did he invent? How did he invent it?
  • Physician/doctor, researcher, surgeon
  • Invented the Blood Bank

Otis Boykin

  • Born 1920 – 1982
  • Born during segregation, attended Illinois Institute of Technology, but had to leave because he could not afford the tuition.
  • What did he invent?
  • A low cost product called a Wire Resister, he received a patent in 1959. Allowed a precise amount of electricity to go into a component.
  • A variety of devices used this resister such as computers &, radios T.V, missile guidance, pace makers. The military & IMB placed orders for his resisters.

Marie Van Brittan Brown

  • Born 1922 died 1999
  • What did she invent?
  • With her partner Albert Brown she invented a Closed Circuit Security System.

James E. West was born in 1931

  • What did he invent?
  • Dr. West & Mr. Sessler invented the Electroacoustic Transducer Electret Microphone – patent 1962. Used in telephones, televisions, radios,  etc.

Kenneth J Dunkley

  • Born in 1939
  • What did he invent?
  • 3D glasses – displace 3D effects from regular 2D pictures

George Alcorn was born in 1940, he holds a Bachelor Degree in physics, a Master Degree in Nuclear physics & a PhD in Atomic & Molecular physics

What did he invent?

  • Imaging x-ray spectrometer a device that helps people to better understand what materials are composed of ( made up of) when they can’t understand what that material is.

Dr. Betty Harris was born in 1940 , she holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Chemistry & Master of Science Degree in Chemistry.

  • What did she invent?
  • Became an expert in the chemistry of explosives and received a patent for her invention for a Spot Test.
  • Spot Test identifies explosives in a field environment (outside environment).

Dr. Patricia Bath was born in 1942

  • What did she invent?
  • She believes that “everyone has the right to sight”
  • She invented the Laserphaco Probe for the removal of cataracts, using Laser technology.

Valerie Thomas was born in 1943 and die in 2009. She worked in a variety of jobs at NASA.

  • She developed real time computer data systems
  • Conducted large scale experiments
  • Managed several processing systems.
  • What did she invent?
  • Her team developed LANDSAT the first satellite to send images from space.
  • 1977 designed the plans for an illusion Transmitter- patented in 1980.

Dr. Shirley Jackson is a Theoretical Physicists, she was born in 1946. She attended MIT, she holds a BA, MA & Doctoral Degree in Physics.

  • What did she invent?
  • Advances in telecommunications while working at Bell Laboratories
  • Inventions: portable fax, solar cells, caller ID & call waiting.

Lonnie G Johnson born 1949

  • He worked for the  Air force & NASA
  • Holder of over 40 patents
  • What did he invent?
  • Super soaker water gun

Mark Dean 

  • Born 1957
  • In High school he built his own computer, radio & amplifier
  • Receive BA, MS & PhD in Electrical Engineering
  • Started working in IBM in 1980
  • What did he invent?
  • Instrumental in the invention of the computer & computer monitor
  • He holds 3 of IBM’s original 9 PC patents.
  • Worked with the team that invented the 1GH chip.
  • He holds 20 patents

John Henry Thompson

  • Born in 1959
  • Interested in computer programming languages
  • He invented Lingo Scripting language used in Macromedia & Shockwave.
  • Used in animation, video games & graphics.