• Katherine G. Johnson
    Tech History

    Katherine G. Johnson – Black History Month

    Katherine G. Jackson, whose story also popularized in the flick from 2016 “Hidden Figures”, is known for being one of the brilliant physicists/mathematicians of NASA who helped bring men into space and known for accuracy in computerized celestial navigation. Early Life and Education She had shown to be a gifted student at an early age. Johnson would be admitted to West Virginia State College at the age of 10 years old to take coursework–as many African-American students were not offered public schooling past the 8th grade! She would graduate from high school 14 and then enter West Virginia State University, and graduate summa cum laude in 1937 with a French and…

  • Dorothy Johnson Vaughan
    Tech History

    Dorothy Johnson Vaughan – Black History Month

    I would be a-missed if I went this month without talking about another wonderful lady from NASA and the real person behind Octavia Spencer’s character in Hidden Figures! Dorothy Johnson Vaughan worked as a NASA mathematician on the SCOUT Launch Vehicle Program that launched America’s first satellites into space. Education Vaughan would come to receive a full-tuition scholarship and graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree from Wilberforce University, a historically black college and was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Although encouraged by professors to do graduate study at Howard University, Vaughan soon started working as a teacher (still segregated by Jim Crow laws) as to support her family during the Great…

  • W.E.B. Du Bois
    Tech History

    W. E. B. Du Bois – Black History Month

    If there is anyone I will share with you this month of men with the longest resume, it would be Mr. W.E.B. Du Bois. William Edward Burghardt “W. E. B.” Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, author, writer and editor. Education Du Bois attended Fisk University, a historically black college, where he would have his first experience with Southern racism, which at the time encompassed Jim Crow laws. After graduating, he would attend Harvard University to receive his second bachelor’s degree (his credits at Fisk were not accepted), then begin his graduate work under a Harvard scholarship. The following year, he would attend University of Berlin on a fellowship.…

  • Roy Clay Sr.
    Tech History

    Roy Clay Sr. – Black History Month

    Every person’s image of the successful programmer location is Silicon Valley. Before Apple and Microsoft could even exist, we have Roy Clay Sr., the Godfather of Silicon Valley, who was at the cutting edge of computing and technology. Roy Clay Sr., the Godfather of Silicon Valley Education and Career Clay was one of the first black men to attend Saint Louis University in 1946 when there was no such thing as computer science. He graduated in 1951 with a Bachelors of Science in Mathematic and was only introduced to computers post-grad. In 1958, Clay found himself working as a computer programmer at what is now known as the Lawrence Livermore National…

  • Percy Lavon Julian
    Tech History

    Percy Lavon Julian – Black History Month

    Percy Lavon Julian is the father of medical drugs— his efforts brought us the standard today in cortisone, steroids, birth control pills and other medications. Percy Lavon Julian: pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants. Education Percy Julian grew up in racist Jim Crow culture and legal regime in Montgomery, Alabama. At a time when access to an education beyond the eighth grade was extremely rare for African-Americans, Julian’s parents steered all of their children toward higher education, of whom even Julian’s father was the son of a slave. The segregated nature of the town forced social humiliations while attending DePauw University in Indiana. He was not allowed…

  • Gerald A. Lawson
    Tech History

    Gerald A. Lawson – Black History Month

    If you have anyone to thank for being the pioneer of video games, you have Mr. Gerald Lawson! He created the first home video game system with interchangeable game cartridges (the original console named the Fairchild Channel F) which would become industry standard.  Gerald Lawson, inventor of interchangeable game console cartridges Career and Invention Even though Gerald would never finish his degree at Queens College or City College of New York, he joined Fairchild Semiconductor as an applications engineering consultant. While there, he would move to the ranks of Chief Hardware Engineer and director of engineering and marketing for Fairchild’s video game division after creating an early edition of the “Demolition Derby” arcade game. At the time, most video…

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