Celebrating Black History Month: Remembering 5 historic black inventors
Words by Tayo Adeboye
October is once again upon us, and in this month, we dedicate all 31 days to the history of innovators and originators of a special calibre. Black History Month celebrates and recounts the history of black people across the world. Whilst many recount the dark times of slavery and oppression, which many black people still suffer to this day, this month and every other day in my opinion should also be used to recount the unfathomable contributions our people have contributed to the world in all areas; be it music, technology, science, fashion and more! I thought this post should be used to highlight this. So here we go! 5 inventions people may not know were invented by black people!
Marie Van Brittan Brown – Inventor of Closed Circuit TV
I think by now we all know what CCTV is or looks like in today’s society. We have Marie Van Brittan Brown to thank for this technological marvel. Although employed as a full-time nurse, Marie found the time to patent an early form of CCTV, many modern models have been based on the original design and we owe some sense of our security to this amazing black woman.
Charles Richard Drew – Inventor of the Blood Bank
Mr Drew, another individual ahead of his time had worked with the Red Cross researching blood transfusions. Inventor of bloodmobiles; which are capable of safely transporting stored blood to wherever needed; In World War II Drew played major roles in developing the first large-scale blood banks and blood plasma programs, during a time when a white man’s blood and a black mans blood donation were separated because of race. Whilst all blood has now been recognised as equal a large part of the medical advances made today is owed to this black man.
Dr James West – Inventor of the Microphone
I know what some of you are thinking; no he is of no relation to Kanye! Dr West was able to create the first low cost and compact Microphone. To those who may not think of this as a technological marvel, this is used in products from Microphones for creating much of the music heard today, all the way down to baby monitors and telephones. Thank you for your contribution sir.
Garett Morgan – Inventor of the Traffic Light
As we all know, highway safety is extremely important. The reason behind one of the greatest road safety devices of all times is because Garett Morgan witnessed a car crash at a Cleveland intersection and decided it was time for change. In every country of every nation on earth the accomplishment of this black man is entrenched. Stay safe on those roads folks!
Elijah McCoy – Inventor of Railroad Lubricant
Have you ever heard anyone ask for ‘The real McCoy?’ Well, the phrase actually originates from the invention of a black man! Long story short, Elijah McCoy was able to automate the lubrication of trains by developing a lubricating cup, and thus eliminate the need to stop every so often to manually complete the task in the days before trains became as advanced as they are today. This led to rivals attempting to copy the work of Elijah; however company’s didn’t wish to buy shoddy imitations, so when ordering they would ask for ‘The real McCoy’.
As you can see we as a people have contributed since the dawn of time. We need far more than one month to dedicate to black history which spans far more than just slavery. I hope you keep this in mind 12 months a year instead of just October.