If you want to learn about early African History then I suggest you start with my series of books as they are probably the best introduction to the ancient and medieval history of Black people. This history is as important as the history of the peoples of Asia, Europe, or the Americas. Moreover, the achievements of the early people of Africa are as amazing and inspiring as the achievements of any other people. This history is much older than the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and looks at the ancient civilizations of Africa particularly those of the Nile Valley such as Nubia and Ancient Egypt. All books are fully illustrated and they each make recommendations to other books for more in depth study.

African American Contributions to Science & Technology

African American contributions to science and technology book cover

While browsing the internet, I came across an article that mentioned the following information: ‘Thomas Jennings was the first African American to receive a patent, on March 3, 1821 (U.S. patent 3306x).  Thomas Jennings’ patent was for a dry-cleaning process called “dry scouring”.’ In 1821?  Is this an exception or are there other examples? After doing more research, I can now pose the question: Did YOU know that a camera invented by a Black astrophysicist was used during the Apollo 16 space mission to collect ultraviolet images photographed from the moon?

If fact did you know any of the following facts:

  • An early eighteenth century Virginia slave developed extremely effective treatments against skin and venereal disease. In fact: ‘His work was so outstanding that in 1729 the Virginia Legislature bought him from his owner, thus freeing him from slavery, to practice medicine exclusively’
  • Astronomical works by a late eighteenth century Black mathematician and astronomer were widely read and ‘became a household staple in early America along with the Bible’
  • A  nineteenth century African American blacksmith patented an invention described as ‘the most important single invention in the whole history of whaling’
  • A nineteenth century inventor of Black South American heritage created such a revolution to the shoe industry, that it was said of him: ‘What Edison is to artificial lighting, [he] is to footwear’
  • By 1913, African Americans held around 1,000 patents for various inventions in household goods, industrial machinery, transportation, electricity and chemical compounds
  • An African American physicist extended the Quantum Theory in the 1920s
  • Henry Ford described a Black botanist in the 1930s as ‘the greatest living scientist’
  • Another Black chemist invented synthetic cortisone, an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis that broke the monopoly that European chemists had on the production of sterols
  • Twelve Black scientists and mathematicians worked on the Manhattan Project, i.e. the American nuclear bomb project, during World War II
  • A Black surgeon headed the blood bank system of the US and the UK during World War II
  • The research of a Black physicist and inventor of the 1960s may hold a key to addressing the main concerns of out times – dwindling sources of useable energy, rising energy costs, and increasing demand for energy.

For too many people, it may be the first time that they had ever encountered such information. This is unfortunate. I believe that African and African Diasporan science history is a subject that has had too little attention paid to it. Some important writers have ventured into the field; Professor Ivan Van Sertima and his team, Mr J. A. Rogers, Mr Samuel Kennedy Yeboah, Dr Louis Haber, and Mr Hunter Havelin Adams.

My latest book synthesises and updates their findings. I also present the data in an easy to digest, bite-size way. This lecture essay is one of four essays that introduce African and African Diasporan contributions to science and technology. The other three in the series concern Ancient Egypt, early West Africa, and early East Africa. This ebook is a general introduction to the role played by the African Americans in the evolution of the Space Sciences, Invention, Mathematics & Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Botany & Zoology, and
Medicine & Surgery.

I also present a useful commentary on Theo’s Story, a popular tale that asks the reader to imagine life without the technological contributions of the African American inventors. I finally present excerpts from Henry E. Baker’s classic1913 text The Coloured Inventor.

Just click on the link to view on Amazon.

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