Black Inventors by Michaella Ktori

Close-up of lightbulb

Student Engagement Ambassador, Michaella, highlights Black inventors from the UK and United States of America to emphasise the important contributions of the Black community within our society throughout history.

Black history month has been celebrated in the UK for more than 40 years. Black people before that were neglected and minimised, due to that fact black people’s contribution to the community was unrecognizable.

American Inventors

The first name I am going to mention is Gladys West. This African American woman was a mathematician and worked alongside other engineers in the naval establishments. Her contribution to the development of GPS (Global positioning system) was major. The technology and use of GPS is well known and useful at the same time to all of us. Her work is used in many industries like all social media and Google Maps.

We all know the importance of the yellow light used in traffic lights. This was an invention created by Garret Morgan. This additional light saved and still saves so many lives on the road. Morgan is also known for his ‘breathing device’ which was the early version of a gas mask.

UK Inventors

The UK was a home for many black inventors as well. Let’s start with Dr Donald Palmer, a great associate professor of immunology. His study focuses on how the human body evolves with age, as well as the detection of ‘markers’ on cell surfaces. He is discovering about how the body defends itself against illnesses like cancer and infections as a result of his study. Donald did post-doctoral investigations at Cancer Research UK and Imperial College in London. Donald is also a Reach Society co-founder. A society that assists and encourages young people, particularly black boys and young black men, to reach their full potential.

The second woman on the list is Dame Elizabeth Anionwu. Elizabeth gave a kick start to her career by working at the NHS when she was 16. She was a co-inventor for the first nurse-led sickle and the thalassaemia screening and counselling centre. This first-rate service resulted in the national screening of new-borns. Elizabeth has made significant contributions to the health and well-being of multi-cultured communities via her work and studies. Elizabeth fought racism and stereotypes to pursue a remarkable career as a nurse, doctor, professor, and advocate.

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