Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler becomes the first Black woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. She later writes one of the earliest medical books published by an African American in 1883.
Dr. Edward Bouchet became the first African American to earn a doctorate in the United States, receiving his degree in physics from Yale University. He was also one of the first African American men to be elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Garrett Morgan invented a breathing device that pioneered the gas mask utilized in World War I. He later invented an improved version of the traffic light in 1923, where a warning would be given, and the yellow light in the commonly used three-way traffic light was born.
The birth year of Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who contributed greatly to NASA’s aerospace programs where studies on geometry directly aided in sending the first people to, and back from, the moon. Her life story is shared in the popular and successful movie, “Hidden Figures.”
By this year, George Washington Carver, known as “The Peanut Man,” was single-handedly responsible for the creation of over 300 peanut products, including industrial, food, and commercial products.
Walter Lincoln Hawkins became the co-inventor, along with Victor Lanza, of the “plastic cable sheath,” a polymer that acts as a coating for telecommunications wires. It was widely distributed in the 1960s and is used currently to protect fiber optic cables, which have the capability to transmit data faster than wireless networks.
Astrophysicist George Carruthers developed a device known as the “Image Converter,” which detects short wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation and was used to capture the first image of molecular hydrogen in outer space. He also invented the camera used in NASA’s space shuttle mission in 2002.
Dr. Patricia Bath was an ophthalmologist who invented a new device and a new technique for cataract surgery, currently known as the Laserphaco Probe. The Laserphaco Probe vaporizes cataracts with extreme precision using a laser. In 1983, Bath became the first woman ophthalmologist appointed to UCLA’s School of Medicine Jules Stein Eye Institute.
On Sept. 12, Mae Carol Jemison became the first Black woman to travel to space. Having been selected for NASA Astronaut Group 12, she and six other astronauts orbited around the Earth 127 times on the space shuttle Endeavor before returning to the Kennedy Space Center.
Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbertt’s research in viral immunology greatly contributed to the development of a vaccine, mRNA-1273, for the rampant SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19. Corbett’s team distributed the vaccine to Moderna for clinical trials, which showed to be 94.1% effective in the Phase 3 trial, and the vaccine was approved to be used in many countries.