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Best black Americans Inventors, Doctors and Scientists


Percy Lavon Julian

Percy L. Julian was an American steroid chemist. His research of how to synthesize medicinal drugs from plants was catalyst for wide spread production of steroid drugs such as birth control pills and cortisone.

He is best known for his prolific and pioneering efforts. He earned many distinguished awards including more than 130 United States patents in chemistry medicine.

The chemist was the first black person to earn a doctorate in chemistry. He was the first black chemist to be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. In 1990, he was inducted into the National inventors Hall of Fame.

Julian has many middle and high schools named after him in Chicago, Illinois. The United States Postal service issued a commentary stamp in his honor after his death in 1975.


Patricia Bath

Patricia Bath is best known for her invention of the Lazerphaco Probe. The device was the foundation for cataract removal surgery in the United States. Her device for surgery enable many blind individuals to see.

Bath became the first woman to be a member of the Jules Stein Eye Institute. She earned several patents in ophthalmology. Her many awards include the Howard University Charter Day Award for distinguished achievement in ophthalmology medicine.

In 2014, she earned the Alpha Kappa Presidential Award for health and medical science. In 2017, she was inducted into the Hunter College Hall of Medicine.

Patricia Bath died of cancer May 30, 2019.


Lewis Howard Latimer

The inventor earned many great awards and achievements in his life time. Lewis earned a patent for an electric lamp U.S patent number 247,097 and the improved Incandescent light bulb U.S patent 252, 386 for the process of manufacturing carbons. He once work for Edison the original inventor of the light bulb.

The inventor was later inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Lewis is best known for his pioneering efforts in filament technology.


Dr. Charles Drew

Dr Charles Drew is responsible for improving techniques of storing blood. He created some of first blood banks during World War II. Drew also found use for blood plasma and created a way for blood transfusions and plasma to be stored safely. He was the first black surgeon to serve on the American Board of Surgery.

Several thousand schools and medical centers in the United States are named after the iconic doctor. Drew paved the way for blood plasma to be widely used with his pioneering research and findings. The Columbia University grad student found that plasma from blood required both centrifugation and liquid extraction. The extraction had to be done under a controlled environment to avoid contamination. Drew used the techniques of air concealment, ultraviolet light and merthiolate to store plasma safely from contamination. He applied his findings and techniques to aid in mass blood preservation and transportation. This method made it possible for mass blood plasma and transfusions to be successful in Europe, the United States and globally.

He is one of the most respected doctors in U.S history. The postal service of the United States made a stamp in his honor. It was part of their great American series.


Madam C.J Walker

Madam C.J Walker became one of the first black female millionaires in the United States for her successful line of hair care and beauty products. She produced hair shampoos, pomade and other black hair care items. Her company was hugely successful.

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Walker was also a entrepreneur and philanthropist. The business woman had many documentaries and television series made after her following her death in 1919. Walker's home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in New York in 1993.


Sarah Boone

The former slave is most famous for her improvement of the ironing board. She patented her design in 1892. She was one of the first black woman to receive a United States patent.

Her design featured a more narrow and curve board which made it easier for individuals to iron their clothing more properly.

The design became immensely popular as people found her device more practical and useful. It is still the standard today for the modern design of the ironing board.


Garrett Morgan

The three system traffic light was invented by Garret Morgan. He also invented the gas mask which help to save the lives of many individuals. His traffic light also made it safer for people to drive. Before his invention traffic was controlled using a two light system. It led to numerous car accidents. It wasn't until Garrett invention that driving became more safer for the public. His invention is also still in use today.


Frederick McKinley Jones

Frederick McKinley Jones invented refrigerated trucks which allowed food to stay cool until consumed. McKinley invention laid the foundation for the long haul refrigeration of perishable foods. His invention became vital during World War II as it was used to store blood, medicine and various food items. He is an inductee into National Inventors Hall of Fame and earned a National Medal in Technology. McKinley was also the inventor of a device that connects sound with motion pictures. He sold his movie production company to RCA which gave him a new company called thermo king.

In his life time, he earned 61 US patents. Forty was for technology in refrigeration. U.S patent number 2,509,099 was issued May 3,1950 for system for controlling operation of refrigerator units. U.S patent number 2,475,841 was issued July 12, 1949 for automatic refrigeration system for long haul trucks.

His other patents were for sound equipment, gas engines and air conditioning unit. U.S patent number D159,209 was issued for design for air conditioning unit. U.S. patent number 2,417, 253 was issued for a two cycle gas engine.


Mary Van Brittan Brown

Mary Van Brittan Brown was worried about break ins to her home so she decided to invent a surveillance camera system which would allow her to see all guests who arrived on her property. Her device featured a camera that could slide through a peep hole and view a intruder. The camera would then appear on a monitor system so she could survey any unwanted criminals.

She patented the device with her husband in 1966. Her device also consisted of a microphone in which she could speak to visitors and a button to lock or unlock her residence. The monitor also had a button to call the police if a person was an intruder to her home.

Her design also pave the way for home security systems. Many of today's security systems draw inspiration from Brown's original patent.


Alexander Miles

Alexander Miles invented automatic elevator doors in 1887. His invention was a safer method for the public to ride the elevator. His invention allowed passengers to freely ride the elevator without having to close the elevator doors themselves. Before his invention, it was up to passengers to close the elevator doors properly or risk falling down the elevator shaft to their death. His invention saved numerous lives and is in use for all elevators today.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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