Most of what we know about African American inventors came from the research of Henry E. Baker. Born on September 1, 1857, in Columbia, Mississippi, Baker made it his mission to identify and publicly highlight the contributions of black inventors. RG 241 Records Relating to Colored Inventors (National Archives Identifier 7451732) contains letters, handwritten lists of inventors, and pamphlets regarding Baker’s attempt to collect information about black inventors.
Black scientists such as George Washington Carver, Mae C. Jemison and Neil deGrasse Tyson are widely known, while others — such as engineer Otis Boykin — are less famous, but equally made an impact. Discover the struggles and triumphs of these and other African American innovators.
From the invention of the first 3D TV to the first moon-based observatory, African American mathematicians, scientists, and inventors have contributed to our nation’s greatness since the time of President George Washington. In honor of Black History Month, we’re highlighting the contributions of many African Americans who have changed our world. Check out our timeline of change-makers and innovators who have and are dedicating their lives to math, education, and science.