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Erased by Historians

We’ve all taken history courses for as long as we can remember. School has taught us about the amazing inventions that revolutionized our world and our lives. We all know about the Wright brothers, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Galileo, just to name a few. We know of the caucasian inventors because of the praise, credit, and recognition they have gotten. But we don’t hear about, nor learn about, the African Americans who have also changed the way we lived. This is true for  a number of reasons, one of them being the erasure of these inventors.

Due to this, Black History Month has been celebrated for a while now, but has recently gotten more attention and more acknowledgment during the 21st century. Every year, during the month of February, credit is given to the people who have been erased or ignored by history books. Therefore, I will be mentioning some African American inventors that have made an impact in our world, and how we live.


  • Dr. Shirley Jackson


Dr. Shirley Jackson was the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in nuclear physics in MIT. Her experiments with theoretical physics paved the way for several, and major developments and improvements in the area of telecommunications. For example, developments were made with the caller ID, the fiber-optic cable, the portable fax, and the touch-tone telephone.


  • Mary Van Brittan Brown


She was a full-time nurse who had created a system that would alert her, or notify her, when a stranger was at her door. This was done after she had recognized security threats to her home. This invention also included a two-way microphone, and an emergency button to notify the police.


  • Garrett Morgan


Garrett Morgan is responsible for creating the world’s first effective gas mask. He invented a “safety hood” in order to aid firefighters navigate smoke-filled buildings. Eventually, he modified them so they would be able to carry its own air supply. Not only that, but Garrett Morgan added a third position to the traffic light; he had added the yellow, which in return reduced car accidents.


  • Alexander Miles


Before elevators had automatic doors, the people taking the lift would have to manually shut both the shaft and elevator doors. Many people would forget to do so, and this led to many accidental deaths. When Alexander Miles’ daughter almost died because of this, he took it upon himself to find a solution. It is because of him that elevators have automatic doors. 


  • James E. West


Dr. James E. West, alongside his German colleague Gerhard Sessler, created a microphone that was considerably less expensive to produce, and more compact and sensitive. They both created the foil electret microphone. Four years after it was invented, it was used in several products including baby monitors, tape recorders, hearing aids, and most telephones.

Aryanna Morales

My name is Aryanna. I am a senior who loves writing. I am from Bolivia. My favorite food is lentil saise. A word that would describe me would be creative.

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