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Celebrating the Achievements of African Americans

Dr. Ellie Ingbritsen
Black History Month

Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, is an annual celebration of African Americans' achievements and contributions to American History. The observance expanded from "Negro History Week," developed by Harvard educated historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans.  In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford officially designated February as Black History Month. Since then, every United States president, along with Canada and the United Kingdom, acknowledge this month as a celebration of the culture and contributions of Africa's sons and daughters.

Featured Scientist:  Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett: African American woman, is praised as key scientist behind the COVID-19 vaccine.

8 Black Inventors Who Made Life Easier
•    Sarah Boone: The ironing board is a product that is usually overlooked. However, in the late 19th century, it was improved upon by Sarah Boone, an African American woman who was born enslaved.

•    Mary Van Brittan Brown: Before security systems became a fixture in homes, an African American nurse Mary Van Brittan Brown devised an early security unit for her own home in 1966. Since her husband worked off hours, she often spent time alone in a high crime section of Queens, New York. She used the device for her own security.

•    Garrett Morgan: Every driver around the world knows the traffic light.  The Three-Light Traffic Light was invented by Garret Morgan in 1923.  He also improved the sewing machine and invented the gas mask.

•    Frederick Mc Kinley Jones: Produce that is delivered to your local market was transported by a refrigerated truck.  Frederick Mc Kinley Jones invented the roof mounted cooling system in 1940. After receiving a patient for his invention, he formed the U.S. Thermo Control Company U.S. Thermo Control Company or Thermo King.  His truck was an essential part of the war effort in WWII. By transporting and storing blood, food, and essential supplies.

•    Alexander Miles: After a near fatal elevator event involving his daughter, Alexander Miles decided to invent a system to control elevator doors in 1887.  His invention is used today in all elevator systems.

•    Dr. James E. West: The microphones used in phones and cameras, use a microphone co-invented by a Black man. Dr. James E. West who, along with Gerhard Sessler, created a sensitive and compact microphone while working  at Bell Labs in 1960. 

•    Lewis Latimer: The light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison. However, the element used to create longer-lasting light bulbs with a carbon filament came from African American inventor Lewis Latimer in 1881. In 1884, he went on to work with Edison at the Edison Electric Light Company.

•    Mark Dean: Today’s PCD monitors and PC displays have high speed color displays. This improvement is thanks to Black inventor and engineer Mark Dean. Dean began working for IBM as a chief engineer in the early 1980s, making up a team of 12 people who would develop the first IBM PC. 


Notre Dame High School

Located on 100 beautiful acres in Central New Jersey, Notre Dame High School, founded in 1957, is a college preparatory school for grades 9 - 12, preparing young men and women for lives of purpose, built upon a foundation of Catholic faith, with a commitment to academics, co-curricular activities and service to others.