Celebrate February as Black History Month


Feyisetan Falana

African-Americans have made multiple contributions to our everyday activities. Here are a some black inventors whose contributions are vital to our everyday lives:

Charles Richard DrewBlood Bank
Charles R. Drew is a renowned physician and the first black surgeon examiner of the American Board of Surgery. He revolutionized medicine by creating the Blood Bank, a system that allowed the immediate and safe transfusion of blood plasma. During World War II, he saved thousands of wounded soldiers with his invention.

George CrumPotato Chips
George Crum is a chef who accidentally created the potato chip in the summer of 1853. In order to teach a picky customer a lesson, Crum sliced potatoes thinly and fried them until they were crunchy. He added salt to them and to his surprise, the chips became a hit with the customer. Decades later, the potato chip is now mass produced and sold in bags.

Garrett A. MorganTraffic Light
Garrett A. Morgan is an innovator who developed many life-saving inventions. After witnessing a collision between an automobile and a horse-drawn carriage, Morgan was convinced that something needed to be done to improve traffic safety. With the development of the traffic light, Morgan changed the global driving culture.

Lonnie G. JohnsonSuper Soaker
Lonnie G. Johnson is an engineer for both the U.S. Air Forces and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Johnson’s inspiration for the Super Soaker hit him while he was working on an eco-friendly heat pump. He said, “I accidentally shot a stream of water across a bathroom where I was doing the experiment and thought to myself, ‘This would make a great gun’.” With his brilliance and extreme success, more than 200 million Super Soakers have been sold!

Otis BoykinPacemaker
Otis Boykin invented a control unit for the pacemaker–a device implanted in the body to help the heart beat normally. The control unit used electrical impulses to stimulate the heart. Boykin’s invention allowed the pacemaker to be more precisely regulated. Ironically, Boykin died in 1982 as a result of heart failure.

Sarah Boone Ironing Board
Sarah Boone is an African American inventor who attained United States patent rights in 1892, for her improvements to the ironing board. At first, people would use a table or lay a piece of wood across two chairs. The new ironing board designs improved the quality of ironing sleeves and the bodies of men’s and women’s garments around the world!