I have searched and compiled a list of African American inventors and patent holders and their contributions to science and technology. We should be grateful for their hard work and dedication that has made a difference in all of our lives.

Patricia Bath

First African American woman to receive a patent for a medical invention.

  • Patricia Bath was the first African American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention.
  • Otis Boykin invented an improved the Electrical Resistor used in computers, radios, television sets and many electronic devices we use today.
  • Marie Brown invented a video home surveillance security system.
  • Benjamin S. Carson was a pioneer in surgery technology. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States by President George W. Bush in 2008.
  • John Christian invented and patented new lubricants used in high flying aircraft and NASA space missions.
  • Mark Dean co-invented improvements in computer architecture that allowed IBM compatible PCs to use the same peripheral devices. He led the team that developed the ISA bus, and he led the design team responsible for creating the first one-gigahertz computer processor chip.
  • Philip Emeagwali won the Gordon Bell Prize in 1989, considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize, for developing the fastest supercomputer software in the world.
  • Roscoe Koontz designed a pinhole gamma ray camera and collimator and helped to design and fabricate automatic air and water sampling equipment and radiation activity measuring devices.
  • Jerry Shelby invented an engine protection system for a recoverable rocket booster.
  • Valerie Thomas received a patent in 1980 for inventing an illusion transmitter.
  • James Edward West holds 47 U.S. and more than 200 foreign patents on microphones and techniques for making polymer foil-electrets.