There are currently states in Abya Yala (original name of USA/the Americas) attempting to remove history of people from Alkebulan (original name of Africa) from the school curriculum. Well, here are just a few of the many contributions – important and fun – from African-American scientists, engineers, and more!
Materials used in some of the products below may not be vegan.
Alfred L. Cralle
- In 1897, Alfred L. Cralle patented the ice cream scoop.
Get one for your next treat day here.
While you’re at it, get some vegan ice cream here.
- In 1923 Percy Julian completed his schooling at Harvard University with a master’s in chemistry. Many scientists were attempting to find a more efficient way to produce cortisone – as it had been found to be effective in soothing inflamed joints. At the time, they were killing 15,000 oxen to produce the bile used for the treatment of just one patient. It was Julian who discovered a way to synthesize cortisone from soybeans instead.
Frederick McKinley Jones
- 1930s Frederick McKinley Jones created refridgeration equipment and has more than 40 patents. He named one the Thermo King. He invented refridgeration units for homes, trucks, trains, and planes. “His work also contributed to the preservation of blood and medicine, proving to be particularly useful during WWII. In 1991, he became the first African American to receive the National Medal of Technology.”
Get one of the most eco-friendly refridgerators, like the Liebherr MRB 3000, here.
- Gladys West was born in 1930. She is the mathematician and programmer who’s mathematically accurate model of Earth was used as “the foundation for the creation of the Global Positioning System (GPS).”
Get a GPS system for your car here.
- 1956 Mary Kenner patented the toilet paper holder, sanitary belt, sanitary pad, and walker. She has the most patents of any African-American lady inventor.
Get an eco-friendly (no plastic) bamboo toilet paper holder here.
Get eco-friendly 100% organic cotton re-usable sanitary pads (light, heavy, and overnight) here.
Get a walker for yourself or a loved one here.
Marie Van Brittan Brown
- In 1980, Valerie Thomas invented 3D technology. She patented it under the name – illusion transmitter – while working for NASA. Here invention is still used by NASA today. It is also used to make 3D TVs and 3D movies. We may not be able to use her invention the way NASA does, but luckily we can set up a 3D entertainment system at home to enjoy some movies offered in 3D!
Get a 3D TV here.
Get 3D movies here:
- In the early 1980’s, while working at IBM, Mark Dean and a colleague created the technology that allows computers to interact with printers. Need a computer and a printer? Get them here:
Here are a couple of the most eco-friendly laptops available:
Here are some of the most eco-friendly printers:
Dr. Patricia Bath
Materials used in some of the products above may not be vegan.
Alfred Cralle. African American Registry. (2023) https://aaregistry.org/story/alfred-cralle-inventor-born/.
Futterman, A. (Feb 1, 2023). 5 Interesting Facts About Chemist Percy Julian. Discover Magazine. https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/5-interesting-facts-about-chemist-percy-julian.
Surmounting the insurmountable. United States Patent and Trademark Office. https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/journeys-innovation/historical-stories/surmounting-insurmountable.
Connolly, R. and Kinney, B. Ten Black Scientists that Science Teachers Should Know About. (2018, February 21). PBS Teachers Lounge. https://www.pbs.org/education/blog/ten-black-scientists-that-science-teachers-should-know-about-and-free-resources.
Gladys Mae West. African American Registry. (2023). https://aaregistry.org/story/gladys-mae-west-mathematician-born/.
Lane, D. (February 17, 2020). Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner: The Forgotten Inventor Who Changed Women’s Health Forever. https://blackdoctor.org/mary-beatrice-davidson-kenner-the-forgotten-inventor-who-changed-womens-health-forever/2/
Jean-Philippe, M. and Burnett, J. 15 African-American Inventors to Remember This Black History Month and Beyond. Oprah Daily. (Jan 19, 2023). https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/work-money/g30877473/african-american-inventors/.
Miller, A. 28 DOBE- Day 17: Marie Van Brittan Brown, Keeping You Safe At Home. (February 17, 2018). https://www.blackexcellence.com/28-dobe-day-17-marie-van-brittan-brown/.
Valerie L. Thomas, Physicist, and Inventor. (2023). African American Registry. https://aaregistry.org/story/valerie-l-thomas-physicist-and-inventor-born/.
Fundación Acua. 8 abril, 2020. Valerie Thomas; inventora del transmisor de ilusión que la NASA usa hasta el día de hoy. https://programaacua.org/valerie-thomas-inventora-del-transmisor-de-ilusion-que-la-nasa-usa-hasta-el-dia-de-hoy/.
National Geographic Kids. (2023). Making History: African American Pioneers of Science. https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/black-inventors-and-pioneers-of-science.
Mark Dean: Co-inventor of the Personal Computer. (February 11, 2020). Capitol Tech University. https://www.captechu.edu/blog/mark-dean-co-inventor-of-personal-computer.
Bath, P. Dr. Patricia Bath. (2020). https://drpatriciabath.com/about/.