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Celebrating Black History Month

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Celebrating Black History Month

A look back at some of the most influential inventions by African Americans in honor of Black History Month

There are a lot of misconceptions about Black History Month being in February because it’s the shortest month. That’s 100% false. The truth is Black History Month is in February because Carter Godwin Woodson, the founder of Black History Month, wanted to celebrate the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Both men contributed heavily to the advancement of colored people in their own unique ways.

In honor of Black History Month, this list looks back at just a few notable creations by African Americans.

Blood banks [Charles Drew]

A blood bank is a building where donated blood is kept. In 1938,  Charles Drew created a way to process and protect blood without it being in a body. Charles Drew was also the first African American to receive a doctorate degree from Columbia. He went on to call his theory “banked blood” since he discovered that plasma can be dried and reused to last longer. The “banked blood” idea went on to become what we know today as blood banks.

Traffic signals [Garrett Morgan]

Back in 1923, the traffic signals were not signals; they were just posts, so drivers had to proceed on their own knowledge. There were accidents all the time, and nobody knew how to fix this problem. Then Garrett Morgan constructed a traffic signal different than all the other ones of this time. He created one that sent a caution light for drivers so they knew when to stop, essentially it was the red light.

Street Letter Box [Philip Downing]

In 1891, mailboxes didn’t exist, people had to walk to the local post office to send letters. So, Philip Downing decided he wanted to make sending much more simple. He invented a metal box with four legs that would be stationed closer to people’s homes and allow them to drop their mail into it to be sent.

Home security system [Marie Van Brittan Brown]

Marie Van Brittan Brown was a nurse who lived in Jamaica, Queens with her husband who was an electronic technician. The neighborhood they lived in wasn’t the best and eventually she realized she needed to find a way to feel safe in her home. So, she and her husband started inventing a system that would identify the visitor outside of their home. The two invented a camera home security system with a button to alert authorities.

The Clock [ Benjamin Banneker]

At a young age Benjamin Banneker met a man named Josef Levi, who had a watch. He was so interested with the watch that he asked to borrow it and then decide it would be much better if it was bigger. Banneker made a clock out of hand carved wood; this clock became the first of its kind in America.

Potato Chips [George Crum]

George Crum was a chef in 1853. One time a customer sent back a plate of French fries because they were too thick and soft. So, Crum made a new plate of potatoes for the customer, but these potatoes were thin and hard. Originally Crum only made the potatoes this way because he was upset with the customer, but the new batch was loved by the customer, and people started coming from all over for his creation. This mistake became a new trend that we know today as the potato chip.

3D Viewing Glasses [Kenneth J. Dunkley]

Kenneth J. Dunkley spent years learning about human vision and also loved watching movies and wanted to feel like he was actually there experiencing the movie for himself. After graduating college, Dunkley “discovered that blocking two points in a person’s peripheral vision will cause an ordinary picture to appear 3-Dimensional, so he developed his 3-DVG to block out these points.”

 

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