Garrett Morgan blazed a trail for African American inventors with his patents, including those for a hair-straightening product, a breathing device, a revamped sewing machine and an improved traffic signal.
Kamal Harris is the first Black female Vice President of the United States of America. She was elected Vice President after a lifetime of public service, having been elected District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and United States Senator.
Believed to be the first African American women to obtain a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, Hattie Scott Peterson graduated from Howard University in 1946. Following her degree, Hattie worked for the U.S. Geological Survey as a survey and cartographic engineer.
Hugh G. Robinson received his master’s degree in civil engineering from MIT. A high-ranking engineering general in the Army, Robinson was the first black soldier to serve as military aide to a president (Lyndon Johnson) in 1965. 13 years later, he was promoted, and served as a general officer in the Corps of Engineers.
Known as the “Rosa Parks of architecture,” Norma Merrick Sklarek became one of the first female architects in the U.S. After graduating from Columbia’s architecture school in 1950, Sklarek landed a job designing bathroom layouts for the NYC Department of Public Works.
Georgia Louise Harris Brown was the first African American woman to earn a degree in architecture in 1944. In 1949, she became the second professionally licensed black female architect in the nation! During her college career, Harris Brown studied under the famous Ludwig Mies van der Rohe during his prime.
Aprille Ericsson-Jackson may be one of the most recognized women in NASA. Starting as an aerospace engineer, Ericsson-Jackson progressed on, and spent a majority of her career helping the world get a better understanding of the Earth and sun connection, as well as earth, and space science.
Raised in a low-income housing project on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Ursula Burns excelled in math, and ultimately received her master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University.
Known as the “First Lady of Engineering,” Lillian Gilbreth was massively successful with her education, career, and as a loving mother of 12! Applying a scientific method to her work that is still used today for workplace efficiency and management, Gilbreth also took part in consulting for the government during the Great Depression and WWII.
Dorothy Vaughan was a math teacher in Farmville, Virginia and joined the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory part-time in 1943. An abundance of data led to Vaughan obtaining a full-time job at the laboratory.