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Black History: Special Delivery!!



Kenneth Dunkley: African American Inventor Who Gave Us 3D Glasses

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

African American Inventor Kenneth Dunkley (1939- ) created 3D glasses in 1986.


Dr. Myra Adele Logan: First Woman To Perform Open Heart Surgery

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Dr. Myra A. Logan (1908-1977) made history in 1943 by becoming the first woman to operate on a human heart. Logan was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her father was the treasurer of Tuskegee Institute. Her mother was well known suffragist and health care advocate. Her mother also had a college degree, which would have been rare at that time. Logan earned an MS in psychology from Columbia University. She then was awarded a scholarship to attend New York Medical College. She graduated in 1933 and completed an internship at Harlem Hospital in the emergency room. Continue reading “Dr. Myra Adele Logan: First Woman To Perform Open Heart Surgery”

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

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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.

Continue reading “Thank Dr. Clarence Ellis When You Click An Icon On Your Computer!”

Dr. Ayanna Howard: African American Roboticist & Artificial Intelligence Scientist

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Dr. Ayanna Howard (1972 – ) has some impressive credentials. She is a noted expert in the area of Artificial Intelligence. She is often referred to as an “old school Blerd” (Black Nerd). Her motivation to pursue a career in the sciences was fueled by watching TV shows such as, The Bionic Woman, Star Trek, and Wonder Woman” as a child. Since 2005, Dr. Howard has worked as a roboticist and Motorola Foundation Professor at Georgia Tech’s Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines. She received a bachelors degree in Engineering from Brown University and a masters degree from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California. Her research has centered on artificial intelligence (also known as humanized intelligence).

In 2003, Howard was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the top 100 innovators under age 35 in the world. In 2008, she garnered world wide press for her “SnoMote” robots which were designed to study the impact of global warming in the Antarctic. The robots were remote control snowmobiles that aided scientists in collecting climate data. These robots made data collection possible without forcing scientist out into the harsh elements. The robots were programmed to work together and to monitor targeted areas. They were mounted with sensors and cameras to collect data including temperature and barometric readings.
Continue reading “Dr. Ayanna Howard: African American Roboticist & Artificial Intelligence Scientist”

The Ishango Bone: Early Tool Used For Mathematic Computations

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Ishango Bones


The Ishango Bone is likely one of the oldest mathematical tools in existence. Sources differ regarding the date of its discovery with some indicating that it was discovered in 1950 while others site 1960 as the date of discovery. The bone was found amongst the ruins of a settlement near Lake Edward that was buried after a volcanic explosion. The Ishango Bone was discovered by geologist, Jean de Heinzelin de Braucort (1920-1998) in the Ishango region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The bone is believed to be the fibula of a baboon. It measures approximately 10cm-14cm in length and is inscribed with a organized series of notches. At one end of the tool is a sharp quartz edge that is believed to have been used as a writing instrument. The Ishango Bones discovered by Heinzelin de Braucourt are housed at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. Continue reading “The Ishango Bone: Early Tool Used For Mathematic Computations”

African American Physicist Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green Receives $1.1M Grant For Cancer Treatment & Research

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African American Physicist, Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, has been awarded a $1.1M grant to develop her patent-pending cancer treatment using laser activated nanoparticles. Dr. Green currently serves as an assistant professor of physics at Tuskegee University. There are less than 100 black female physicists in the U.S. She earned her masters degree and Ph.D from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. When speaking about her achievements, Dr. Green says she is really no different than anyone else. She also says,

“When opportunity found me, I was prepared.”
Continue reading “African American Physicist Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green Receives $1.1M Grant For Cancer Treatment & Research”

Barrington Irving: First African American To Fly Around The World Solo At Age 23

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barrington irvin
Barrington Irving in 2007 as he returns from his around the world flight.

 Barrington Irving (1983 – ) developed an interest in flying through a chance encounter when a man in a flight uniform came into to the bookstore owned by his parents. The man asked Irving if he had ever considered a career in aviation. Initially, he told the man that he did not think he was smart enough to pursue such a career. However, the conversation did pique his interest and through this encounter he had the opportunity to sit inside a plane cockpit.

Irving was unable to afford flight lessons right away. So he saved his money and purchased a computer flight simulator game that he used for practice. He continued to save up money until he was able to afford private flight lessons. Irving obtained his pilot’s license at 19. By the time Irving was 21, he had already begin to think about the legacy he wanted to leave. He had lost many friends due to violence or prison and wanted his life to go in a different direction and have a positive impact. He decided that flying around the world would be something he could do to leave a positive legacy.  He began to pursue this goal, but faced many challenges for almost 2.5 years. At a cost of $650,000, purchasing his own aircraft would have been impossible for Irving. He decided to approach companies and ask them to donate parts to help build the plane. Eventually he was able to secure all of the parts which were needed.

In 2007, his plane, “Inspiration” was finally ready. The plane had no radar, no de-icing system when he left Miami. His flight around the world would take 97 days and 27,000 miles to complete. Thousands awaited him when he returned to Miami on March 23, 2007. He was then, the youngest person ever to fly solo around the world. This record has since been broken by a 22 year old, Swiss pilot. Irving was struck by the number of young people who had followed his flight around the world.  He used this inspiration to start his own non-profit, Experience Aviation. The non-profit serves students in Miami’s failing high schools to teach them about aviation and get students excited by STEM fields.

Check out this inspiring video and hear Barrington Irving’s talk about his flight around the world!

Did you miss our previous post? Click here to learn about, “The Book of Negroes” compiled by the British during the American Revolutionary War.

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