In recent years, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) has become a popular education strategy to encourage black youth and many others to pursue these lucrative and useful professions.
In addition to teaching them the nuts and bolts of STEM professions, we must continue to remind our youth and ourselves that before, during, and after enslavement, our race produced many creative technical geniuses. We don’t have to feel pressured to reinvent the wheel, but we can surely expand on our existing legacy.
Each of the three inventors profiled received one of their numerous patents this month. They come from different places and have different backgrounds. All of them hit their stride during the Reconstruction Era, that hopeful period between the abolition of American slavery and the beginning of the racial terror and segregation campaign known as Jim Crow. Reconstruction was a time of rapid development — our ancestors were eager to put the dark days of forced labor behind them and prove what they were capable of to themselves and others.
Although much of that hope and progress was crushed when the Federal government stopped protecting African Americans from vengeful Southerners who wanted their old domination way of life back, the black inventors of that era revolutionized industries in ways that still affect us to this day.
Scroll through to get to know the black inventors who received patents in July: