Significance of Black Inventions That Changed the World

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Unleashing Black Inventive Genius
  3. Conclusion


Many people have heard about famous inventions, such as the lightbulb, the steam engine, and the iPhone. The list is, in fact, endless and impressive. However, although we use many products and inventions in our lives, we don't give thought to who made it or contributed towards it. Did you know that among many of these inventors and innovators, are African-Americans? Whether it may be something big or small, black inventors have made tremendous contributions to our daily lives. Their contributions have made our lives more luxurious and made everyday activities less time-consuming. They have also made scientific advancements possible. Most importantly, their inventions have influenced and given hope to many people around the globe to formulate something unique using their potential. In all, African-Americans have helped people live better fuller lives.

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Unleashing Black Inventive Genius

Imagine untangling your hair with your fingers. How long would it take? Lyda Newman, born in Ohio in 1885, has made our life more comfortable through her innovation. She was an African-American inventor and women's rights activist. She had fought for women's right to vote while also working with well-known women's suffrage activists. In 1898, she received a patent for an improved model of a hairbrush. We could see the impact of her contribution to the world, as nowadays everyone has a hairbrush in their homes!

Not only do Black inventions make our life easier and less time consuming, but they also contribute to making scientific developments possible. A clear example is Dr. Shirley Jackson, an American physicist and the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in nuclear physics at MIT. Aside from her amazing lengthy list of academic achievements, she also has an impressive number of inventions. Her experiments paved the way for various developments in the telecommunication space. For Example, the touch-tone telephone, the portable fax, caller ID, call waiting, and also the fibre-optic cable which played a unique role in connecting the world together.

Every person has the potential to create something despite their race, gender or ethnicity. In history, many black slaves were denied proper education, and many laws were enacted that prevented slave literacy. Free individuals were also limited in their access to quality education and career training before and after the civil war. However, this did not stop them from finding their potential. For example, Madam C.J. Walker, born to former slaves, invented an innovative line of African-American hair care products in 1905, that led to her distinction as one of America’s first self-made millionaires. Her extremely successful cosmetics company is still in business today. Another example is Thomas Jennings, the first black patent holder, who invented dry-cleaning in 1821. Both, Madam C.J. Walker and Thomas prove that it does not matter if you are a slave, rich or poor, black or white, or even educated because you still have unique capabilities and ideas to invent something, and to do something significant. Their inventions have influenced the wider community today and gave them a sense of hope that they can also formulate something disregarding their origin and circumstances.


In conclusion, many Black individuals have made contributions to developing a variety of tools, techniques, devices, solutions, and machines. These inventions and contributions have positively influenced the world as it has contributed to its development and has helped us live healthier, easier, and fuller lives. Today, as we look around, we can see these Black inventions and innovations being used in all corners of the world! We have resolved to devote each day of February to honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present. It's a month to celebrate black inventors and to highlight their inventions. Not only should we reflect during this month but rather every month and pause for a silent moment of remembrance and thank these heroes for their significant contributions. Indeed, Black individuals' abilities have paved the way to making the world a better place!

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