African American Inventors Who Left Their Mark in History

We’re excited about Black History Month! We are going to take a minute to recognize and thank all the great African American inventors who left their mark in history making our lives a little better.

Marian R. Croak

Marian Croak was inducted into Women in Technology International’s hall of fame due to her 135 patents. Her patents are primarily in voice-over Internet protocol. Today, Marian is an SVP at AT&T, serving as a mentor for women in AT&T labs.

Otis Boykin

After losing his mother to heart failure, Otis Boykin helped patients find ways to improve the circuitry in pacemakers making them better. Otis Boykin went on to invent burglar-proof cash register, chemical air filters, and an electronic resistor used in controlled missiles. Otis Boykin even helped develop IBM computers.

Philip Emeagwali

Philip Emeagwali was one of the greatest computer pioneers of our time. His career started at the age of 14 when Philip was forced to drop out of school. For fun, studying bees and honeycombs ended up inspiring Philip to rethink computer processing. Philip used 65,000 processes to invent the world’s first super computer able to perform 3.1 billion calculations per second.

Lisa Gelobter

Lisa Gelobter contributed to developing animated Gif’s and Shockwave technology paving the way for internet animation. Lisa Gelobster’s helped pave the way for online video. Today Lisa Gelobter works at the white house with the United States Digital Service serving as the Chief Digital Service Office with the US Department of Education.

Elijah McCoy

“The Real McCoy,” Elijah McCoy is one of the most famous African American inventors being credited with 50 inventions over his career. Elijah McCoy automated the process of lubricating trains which eliminated frequent stopping. Elijah McCoy made another innovation in the rail road industry by inventing the lubricating cup. An invention where oil would automatically drip where needed this was critical in avoiding sticking to the track. The saying “the Real McCoy” derives from this era when competitors would try to recreate and steal Elijah McCoy’s lubricating cup. Companies were not fooled!

Dr. Shirley Jackson

Dr. Shirley Jackson’s experiments paved the way for development in the telecommunication space like the touch-tone telephone, the portable fax, caller ID, call waiting, and the fiber-optic cable. Today, Dr. Shirley Jackson is the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Thank you, to the amazing African American inventors on our list and the ones not on our list for your contributions to technology and improving our lives.  The world would be a very different place without you.