Who’s Who? The History of African-American Inventors and Pioneers

Benjamin McKnight III, Staff Writer

The world is filled with people who have bright ideas and want to make a difference. Past years have left us with people who have made our world better through their inventions and trailblazing actions. Many of America’s inventions and opportunities for success can be traced back to African-Americans.

One of the more notable African-American inventors is George Washington Carver. Commonly referred to as the inventor of peanut butter, Carver found hundreds of uses for vegetables and other agricultural foods. A few common products are mayonnaise, chili sauce, and meat tenderizer.

Another person, whose name is not as famous as what he invented, is Lonnie G. Johnson. Johnson, who attended the prestigious HBCU (Historically Black College and University),Tuskegee University, is the inventor of the Super Soaker. No gathering at a pool or beach is complete without a Super Soaker, which Johnson invented in 1989. The Super Soaker is now a multi-million dollar business brand.

There is no shortage of history making African-American women, either. Sarah Goode, born in the era of slavery, was the first African-American woman to receive a patent in America and is credited as the inventor of an early version of the cabinet bed.

Another famous African-American woman is Madame C.J. Walker. Widely recognized as the first self-made American female millionaire, Walker made her mark in the hair care business, beginning her trade at home in an attempt to make a shampoo to promote a healthier scalp for hair growth. At the time of her death, Walker was the wealthiest African-American woman in America.

Through the years, the African-American community has seen many of its members succeed in ways many others never thought to be possible. From the era of slavery to now, there is no doubt that this race has left an impact on America as well as the entire world.