How Black Inventors Shape the World
Since the day the first boat landed on the coasts of Africa, racial segregation has existed in our society. If it weren’t, there would be no need for activist movements like Black Lives Matter, because all lives would matter equally. All lives would have the same rights, equal opportunities, and the same recognition and reward for their outstanding work.
When we think of the most famous inventors in the world, the names that often come to mind are names such as Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla, and so on. Men, whom since they were born, had been free from the societal constraints that being black would’ve put on them in the era they lived.
Now, this is not to discredit their work. They’ve all created marvelous and great things that have cured diseases, advanced technology, and brought humanity to where it is today. But we can’t help but wonder about the men and women who could’ve also contributed in significant ways to the enlightenment of humanity, if given a chance.
While we can’t cry over spilled milk, we can certainly acknowledge the men and women who did fight, and those who are still fighting against incredible odds, to shape the world with their inventions.
We can talk about Granville Tailer Woods, who is famed for having over 60 designs, including the Multiplex Telegraph, which allowed train stations to communicate with moving trains. Lewis Latimer, who worked with Alexander Graham Bell on the drawings of the telephone, and who also helped improve Thomas Edison’s original version of a light bulb. Or even more recently, Silas Adekunle, who invented the world’s first gaming robot.
But we can’t leave the women out of the equation. Not only have they had to overcome the prejudice of race, but that of sex. The latter a bias that is very much around still today, all over the world.
Great female inventors should be hailed for their strength and intelligence. Not only for achieving great things, but also doing so, despite all the obstacles they’ve had to and still have to face.
They’ve had to deal with society’s expectations that they are good daughters, good wives, good mothers, and even work long hours to accomplish great feats. They’re as close as one gets to a superwoman.
They are women like Patricia Bath, who discovered how to use the laser to remove cataracts, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Before the inventions of tampons, there was Mary Beatrice Kenner, who, with the improvement of her sanitary belt, made periods easier for women. There is Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who played pivotal roles in the space race, and many more women.
Inventors, continue to bring about groundbreaking discoveries that make man better. We can’t do without them, the whites or the blacks; the men or women. They all deserve our acknowledgment, and they all deserve our thanks for the hurdles they have had to overcome to bring us where we are today, and for where we will be tomorrow.