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African American Inventors [Hardcover]

Otha Richard Sullivan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 5 1998 Black Stars (Book 16)
Meet the black inventors who lived their dreams--from the early years to modern times

Benjamin Banneker
Andrew Jackson Beard
George E. Carruthers, Ph.D.
George Washington Carver
Michael Croslin, Ph.D.
David Nelson Crosthwait Jr.
Charles Richard Drew, M.D.
Meredith Gourdine, Ph.D.
Claude Harvard
Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
Frederick McKinley Jones
Percy Lavon Julian, Ph.D.
Ernest Everett Just, Ph.D.
Lewis Howard Latimer
Jan Earnst Matzeliger
Elijah McCoy
Benjamin Montgomery
John P. Moon
Garrett Augustus Morgan
Norbert Rillieux
Earl D. Shaw, Ph.D.
Madame C. J. Walker
Daniel Hale Williams, M.D.
Granville T. Woods
Jane Cooke Wright, M.D.

For more than three centuries, African American inventors have been coming up with ingenious ideas. In fact, it is impossible to really know American history without also learning about the contributions of black discoverers. This collection brings their stories to life.

In every era, black inventors have made people's lives safer, more comfortable, more convenient, and more profitable. This inspiring, comprehensive collection shines history's spotlight on these courageous inventors and discoverers. One by one, they persevered, despite prejudice and obstacles to education and training. These stories show you how:

  • Benjamin Montgomery, born a slave, invented a propeller that improved steamboat navigation.
  • Jan Earnst Matzeliger, the son of a Dutch engineer, invented a machine that revolutionized the shoe manufacturing industry.
  • Madame C. J. Walker, born two years after the Civil War emancipated her parents, invented a product that helped make her a millionaire.
  • Dr. George E. Carruthers, an astrophysicist, invented the lunar surface ultraviolet camera/spectrograph for Apollo 16.
  • Dr. Jane Cooke Wright, a third-generation physician and pioneer in the field of cancer research discovered a method for testing which drugs to use to fight specific cancers. Dr. Wright became the first woman elected president of the New York Cancer Society and the first African American woman to serve as dean of a medical college.

This outstanding collection brings to light these and dozens of other exciting and surprising tales of inventors and discoverers who lived their dreams.


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From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10ATracing the achievements of innovators from the 18th century to the present, Sullivan presents a range of creative people, and places each story within the context of the struggle for equal rights and opportunities. While some of the 25 entries are standards (Benjamin Banneker), others are less well-known (David Nelson Crosthwait, Jr., Jane Cooke Wright). Unfortunately, this title focuses primarily on men; only three women are included. On many levels, however, it succeeds. In each biographical sketch, sidebars highlight specific parts of the inventor's story, often expanding on the inventions or relating a personal anecdote. Definitions appear in the margins, enabling readers to grasp the often technical nature of these innnovations. Black-and-white photos and illustrations supplement the text. A worthy companion to Jim Haskins's Outward Dreams (Walker, 1991) and Robert C. Hayden's Nine African-American Inventors (21st Century Bks., 1992).ACarol Fazioli, Cardinal Hayes Library, Manhattan College, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 5^-8. Although some of these inventors have had individual books written about them (Benjamin Banneker) and others have been included in other collective biographies (especially Madame C. J. Walker), there is enough variety and range to make this a worthwhile purchase. It is also a particularly engaging book to read; Sullivan highlights those aspects of the subjects' lives that will interest readers the most and writes about them with insight. The book is attractive, too, with lots of historical engravings and photographs. Among the people profiled in the two-or three-page spreads are Garrett Morgan, who invented the gas mask; Dr. Charles Drew, who did pioneering research in blood donation; and John Moon, who developed floppy disks. Chronology; notes; bibliography. Ilene Cooper

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Without a doubt, Benjamin Banneker was one of the most ingenious American scientists who lived during the Revolutionary War era. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars African American Inventors (Black Stars Series) Sept. 22 2000
Format:Hardcover
African American Inventors (Black Stars Series)
What a great book! I highly recommend this book if you have ever wondered where can I find information about African American Inventors. I found that the information was very insightful and informative to both myself and to my son. The content is easy to read and allows the reader to see (if you will) first hand just how difficult it was (is) for minorities to overcome ignorance in order to enhance the betterment of mankind through technology!
In a nutshell this book is excellent resource for all students of all races and creeds. African American Inventors is also a great book for young inventors who may need a little encouragement and hope in a pseudo biased world.
Finally, as a parent I give this book two thumbs up!
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars African American Inventors Sept. 20 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
African American Inventors (Black Stars Series)
What a great book! I highly recommend this book if you have ever wondered where one may find information about African American Inventors. I found that the information contained within this book was very insightful and informative. The content is easy to read and allows the reader to see (if you will) first hand just how difficult it was (is) for minorities to overcome ignorance in order to contribute and enhance the betterment of all mankind through technology!
In a nutshell this book is excellent resource for all students of all races and creeds. African American Inventors is also a great book for young inventors who may need a little encouragement and hope in seeing their dreams become reality.
Finally, as a parent I give this book two thumbs up!
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars African American Inventors (Black Stars Series) Sept. 22 2000
By Vincent Shanks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
African American Inventors (Black Stars Series)
What a great book! I highly recommend this book if you have ever wondered where can I find information about African American Inventors. I found that the information was very insightful and informative to both myself and to my son. The content is easy to read and allows the reader to see (if you will) first hand just how difficult it was (is) for minorities to overcome ignorance in order to enhance the betterment of mankind through technology!
In a nutshell this book is excellent resource for all students of all races and creeds. African American Inventors is also a great book for young inventors who may need a little encouragement and hope in a pseudo biased world.
Finally, as a parent I give this book two thumbs up!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars African American Inventors Sept. 20 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
African American Inventors (Black Stars Series)
What a great book! I highly recommend this book if you have ever wondered where one may find information about African American Inventors. I found that the information contained within this book was very insightful and informative. The content is easy to read and allows the reader to see (if you will) first hand just how difficult it was (is) for minorities to overcome ignorance in order to contribute and enhance the betterment of all mankind through technology!
In a nutshell this book is excellent resource for all students of all races and creeds. African American Inventors is also a great book for young inventors who may need a little encouragement and hope in seeing their dreams become reality.
Finally, as a parent I give this book two thumbs up!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HISTORY THAT IS NOT TAUGHT IN OUR PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL SYSTEMS July 31 2011
By James A. Robinson Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Most of us in my generation only learned about the contributions of Black people when we went to college and took a Black History course and or studied Black History. Most minorities and White people take for granted on a daily basis many things we use daily and we just assume someone other than a Black person invented things such as the elevator, traffic lights, increased the production of how cotton was ginned; the many uses of the peanut. Buy this book! Most are totally unaware that a Black man orchestrated the building of Washington DC when the French architect who was hired to complete the drawings and oversee the construction became involved in a disagreement with those who funded the project. He took his drawings and all documents and returned to France. A Black man working under the French architect advised those funding the project that he could build the project. He did so from MEMORY. Buy the book! Many of these inventors were SLAVES. Some slave owners tried to steal and take credit for many inventions in use today. However, even in those times slaves prevailed in the court system although he remained a slave. This writing is but a superb primer into the many things in use today that are the result the brilliant minds of Black people. Just imagine during WWII the United States Congress debated whether a black American could fly a war plane. They brought forth finding that a Black man's brain was the size of an "APES" with about the same capacity to learn. Eleanor Roosevelt, President Roosevelt's wife learned that even though the Tuskegee Airmen the 332 fighter squadron, were trained to fly and fight were not allowed to fight; She was the main reason the Tuskegee Airmen did fight in WWII and served with distinction. Learn about the all black segregated air squadron that flew the P51 Mustang and was requested by White bomber pilots to escort them on raids into Germany because those Black pilots never lost a bomber that they escorted into Germany, but that's in another primer.

When I was in grade school in California I learned nothing about Black History. When my father, a soldier, was transferred to Virginia I went to segregated schools, as the South was segregated even though the military was integrated and I lived in integrated military housing on the base. We were taught some things in elementary school about Black History and more so when I started high school. This was also when all these text books were new. Most text books for all grade levels were recycled from the all white school districts, but some new text books were provided to fill our schools need. When we were transferred back to California there was no more black history taught until i took a course in college. Great book not just for Black people, but for anyone interested in the missing chapters of OUR AMERICAN HISTORY!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars young readers book club of Conyers review May 22 2009
By M. W. George - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We love the book. It is an advanced book for our group, but we found it to be educational, historical, and that it completely covers the fundamentals of African American inventors historical path. This is definitly a book we all would recomend. We loved reading it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource Oct. 11 2013
By lateef mtima - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book provides a very useful collection of important information that is otherwise difficult to obtain- I can certainly recommend it.
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