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Thank Dr. Clarence Ellis When You Click An Icon On Your Computer!

Black History: Special Delivery!!

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Dr. Clarence “Skip” Ellis (1943 – 2014)

Dr. Clarence “Skip” Ellis (1943-2014) earned a Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Illinois. He was the first African American to gain a Ph.D in this area of study.  A dedicated educator, he loved to teach students who were new to the field of study and who lacked experience.  Ellis was born and raised on the south side of Chicago.  Ellis was also instrumental in the development of “groupware” technology. This technology makes it possible for several people to collaborate on a document at the same time.  His work made it possible for programs such as Google Docs and Sharepoint software to be developed.  He is also credited with inventing the technology we now use to click “icons” on a computer screen to execute computer commands.

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Roy L. Clay: The Godfather of Silicon Valley

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Known as the “Godfather of Silicon Valley”, Roy Clay, Sr. (1929 -) was born in Kinloch, Missouri. He graduated from St. Louis University, majoring in mathematics. One of the first jobs he sought after graduation was at McDonnell Aircraft. His resume did not reveal that he was black. He was called for an interview. When he arrived, he was told that there were no jobs for “professional negroes”.

He learned to do computer coding in 1956. Bill Gates was just a baby. There were no college level computer programming or computer science classes. At that time, computers were highly unstable and most could not even be counted on to function for a full day without failing. Clay joined Hewlett-Packard Computers (HP) in 1965 to help build its first computer by its co-founder David Packard. Clay’s professional profile had garnered his attention due to his work on the Manhattan Project.

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Janet Emerson Bashen: Software Pioneer

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Janet Emerson Bashen received a technology patent in 2006. She is President, Founder, and CEO of Bashen Technologies.  Bashen saw a need to help employers with EEO tracking and reporting to more effectively respond to discrimination complaints filed by employees.  She knew that when discrimination claims were filed against companies, paperwork was often lost and took a long time to process.  She created a web based software platform to help employers track this info and streamline their reporting processes.
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Marc Hannah: Engineering Innovator

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Marc Hannah
Marc Hannah

March R. Hannah was born on October 13, 1956 in Chicago, IL. Hannah is the co-founded of Silicon Graphics (SGI) along with Jim Clark and 5 others. The company has become well known for its innovation in the area of graphics technology. Hannah, served as principal scientist at SGI and was responsible for the creation of programs like Personal IRIS, Indigo, and Indy Graphics These programs were used to develop special effects for movie productions such as Jurassic Park, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Hunt for Red October, Field of Dreams and Terminator 2. SGI’s technology has also been used for military applications. SGI is an international market leader in 3-D computer graphics. SGI technology has also been used to design cars, airplanes, and military virtual simulation training. Hannah holds over 15 patents in the area of computer technology. Hannah currently serves as the chief technology officer for Songpro. Songpro is a technology company specializing in making multimedia plug ins that are used for listening to music on video game players and MP3 players.

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