Benjamin Banneker (1761-1806)

Benjamin Banneker was born in Maryland on November 9, 1731. He is often known as the “First African American Scientist.” He built a working wooden clock that kept accurate time and struck the hours for over 50 years. Banneker studied astronomy and he published an almanac. “Benjamin Banneker’s Almanac” was a top seller from Pennsylvania to Virginia and even into Kentucky from 1792 to 1797.

In 1791, Banneker helped survey the land which is now known as Washington, D.C.

George Washington Carver (1860-1943)

george-washington-carverGeorge Washington Carver was born in 1860. Born of slave parents in Diamond Grove, Missouri, Carver was rescued from Confederate kidnappers as an infant.

At Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute for Negroes, Carver developed his famous crop rotation method. Nitrate producing legumes like peanuts were planted during alternate years. The peanuts put nutrients back in the soil that had been taken away when cotton grew from the soil.

Carver created 325 different uses for the peanut. Some uses range from cooking oil to printers ink. Carver died January 5, 1943. His birthplace was declared a national monument in 1953.

Elijah McCoy (1843-1929)

elijah_mccoyElijah McCoy was born May 2, 1844 in Colchester, Ontario. His parents, George and Emillia, were former slaves who escaped from Kentucky via the Underground Railroad. His first invention, a lubricating cup was used in steam cylinders of the trains and other machinery. Some of Elijah’s other inventions were the ironing board and the lawn sprinkler. During his lifetime, Elijah was awarded over 57 patents and became known as one of the great Black inventors of the 19th century.