Tag Archives: 28 Days

Day 28 Benjamin Banneker – 28 days of Black History in Technology

Benjamin Banneker

Benjamin Banneker was born in 1731, it’s said he was born to a colonial American who was an indentured servant at one time but by the time Banneker was born he was born free, but with all things when it comes to African American’s it’s hard to trace the true origins of some people’s history.

Banneker made astronomical calculations that predicted solar and lunar eclipses.  As he understood the need for this kind of information he created an almanac ephemeris from 1792, to 1797.

Banneker's Almanac

Banneker also made a clock, as I understand it he took apart a clock that was given to him, and then created a clock made of wood that worked and chimed at the hour mark.

Later Banneker was part of a survey team that in late February 1792 was dismissed, they had failed to have have the plans published the leader Pierre Charles L’Enfant was dismissed.  The story goes that L’Enfant left with the plans he had completed, thus leaving the project up in the air, and the possibility of starting the project over again from start.

Banneker was able to draw from memory and provide the plans that were later used for the construction of the federal capital city.

So far in my research I have no knowledge that Banneker went on to college or even how far he completed high school or for that matter grade school.  We do all know this, his almanac was truly remarkable and he is a great African American Inventor.


Day 27 Percy Lavon Julian – 28 days of Black History in Technology

Percy Lavon Julian

Percy Lavon Julian was born April 11, 1899 in Montgomery Alabama.  He was a research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medical drugs from plants.  He largely worked on chemical synthesis of the human hormones, steroids, progesterone, and testosterone, from plant sterols.

During his lifetime he received over 120 chemical patents. Julian was one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate in chemistry.

Percy synthesizing progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone from the plant sterols, stigmasterol and sitosterol, isolated from soybean oil by a foam technique he invented.

His most famous work comes from his synthesis of cortisone which is used in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

Working in Lab

Little unknown fact: In 1999, the American Chemical Society recognized Julian’s synthesis of physostigmine as one of the top 25 achievements in the history of American chemistry.

It seems that all the people I have talked about found truth in education, and understanding that by using that education they could excel to the highest levels.  I never understood that education and what it really meant until I was older, it’s time we all start waking up.


Day 26 George Washington Carver – 28 days of Black History in Technology

George Washington Carver

Would I be doing the world justice if I didn’t mention one of the greatest inventors of all time, African American or other wise.  George Washington Carver born 1864 finished high school through much hardship.  He also attended college he was accepted at Highland College in Highland, Kansas.  He later found out once on campus that he was rejected because he was African American.

In 1896 , Carver was invited to lead the Agriculture Department at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, later known as Tuskegee University.  Carver remained at TU for 47 years teaching.

Carver became famous for his research into and promotion of crops as alternatives to cotton, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes.  One of his goals was to educate poor farmers to grow alternative crops both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life.

His inventions are too many to name for the peanut, but I have to give you some examples.

George made things like wood stains, shampoo, face power, printer ink, vinegar, soap, coffee, butter, milk, and cheese. These were only a few things that he had that he made from peanuts. He also made different things from other plants. Carver produced paint pigment and talcum powder from southern clay and many other plants. George also found 118 ways to make industrial materials from sweet potatoes, like rubber. He also made five hundred dyes from various southern plants.

His life and legacy will live on forever, his work with the peanut and sweet potatoes is well documented and if you knew all that he created from his work you would understand why he’s so important.  His thurst for knowledge led him to finish High School, and to complete college.

He was, is and will always be a great African American Inventor.  I was able to find some videos from youtube which goings into depth about him and his legacy check them out.

Part 1 of 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAnq17vaUKs
Part 2 of 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_T0ApOsnF8
Part 3 of 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w0xYk1hW6c
Part 4 of 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzYF47cmrAk
Part 5 of 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF7vGEWJGDA


Day 25 Charles Richard Drew – 28 days of Black History in Technology

Dr. Charles R. Drew

Dr. Charles Richard Drew was an American medical doctor and surgeon who started the idea of a blood bank.  Along with that he figured out a system for the long term preservation of blood plasma.

He found that plasma kept longer then whole blood.  Plasma is prepared by spinning a tube of fresh blood containing an anti-coagulant in a centrifuge until the blood cells fall to the bottom of the tube.  The plasma is then poured off.

Blood Centrifugation Scheme

Dr. Drew set up and operated the blood plasma bank at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, NY.  Drew’s project was the model for the Red Cross system of blood banks, of which he because the first director.

Possible fact: Drew protested against the practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood, as it lacked scientific foundation, an action which cost him his job.

Dr. Drew was not a techie, but again the significance of his accomplishment can’t go with out mention.


Day 24 Alexander Miles – 28 days of Black History in Technology

Alexander Miles made improvements to the Electric Elevator patent #371,207 improved the method of the opening and closing of elevator doors.  This was very important because before his invention patrons of the elevator had to close the door manually.  Sometimes this created a situation with bad results because people would not always shut the door, causing accidents with people falling down the elevator shaft.

Here is a copy of the patent information ELEVATOR PDF