It’s (Black) History! –Scholars & Inventors

Welcome to The Pen & the Needle! Ready to learn some Black history? Let’s get started!

This week, we are going to learn about a few African American scholars and inventors:

Alexander Lucius Twilight(1795-1857)

Alexander Twilight was the first African American to receive a college degree. Although he is said to have been born free, he became an indentured servant on a nearby farm in his hometown of Bradford,Vermont from the age of eight until the age of twenty-one. During his last year of servitude, he enrolled in Middlebury College where, two years later, he earned his bachelor’s degree. Later in 1863 he made history again by becoming the first African American to be elected to a public office.

Dr. George Carruthers (1939-Present)

George Carruthers is best known for his various inventions and hard work for studies of space. Dr. Carruthers earned a patent for his invention called “Image Converter for Detecting Electromagnetic Radiation Especially in Short Wave Lengths,” in 1969. He went on to create even more inventions that would benefit NASA. His inventions wound up being used for the first lunar walk in the Apollo 16 mission, offered the first amount of proof that molecular hydrogen exists in interstellar space, shot ultraviolet images of Haley’s Comet, and more.

Alfred L. Cralle (1866-1920)

Alfred Cralle, a Virginia native, is best known for his invention, the ice cream scooper, after noticing how hard it was to dispense while working at a drug store. He was also the first African American man in Pennsylvania to receive a patent for his invention.

Edward Alexander Bouchet (1852-1918)

Mr. Bouchet was the first Black man to graduate from Yale University in 1874 with a Ph. D. in the United States. He graduated with a degree in Physics, ranking number 6 in his class out of 124 students. While also at Yale, he became the first African American to be nominated to Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

The two videos below showcase some of the simple things in life that were created by African Americans, though most people don’t even realize it.

Have you ever heard of any of these people? Did you learn something new today? Let me know what you learned and add to the discussion in the comments below!

Further Reading

Alexander Twilight:

  • http://www.biography.com/people/alexander-lucius-twilight-213035#educator-and-minister
  • http://www.blackpast.org/aah/twilight-alexander-1795-1857
George Carruthers:
  • http://www.biography.com/people/george-carruthers-538794#scientific-inventions
  • http://www.blackhistorypages.net/pages/gcarruthers.php
Alfred L. Cralle
  • http://www.carnegielibrary.org/research/pittsburgh/patentees/cralle.html
  • http://1019ampradio.cbslocal.com/2012/02/16/black-history-month-fast-facts-alfred-l-cralle/

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