Honoring Black History Month in Medicine and Science
This information is taken from the Tom Joyner Morning Show
Little Known Black History Facts
Otis Boykin invented more than 25 electronic devices used in
computers and guided missiles. His most noteworthy invention was an
electronic mechanism created in 1955, as a regulating unit for the first
heart pacemaker. The actual pacemaker was first invented by Paul Boli.
Boykins device uses electrical impulses to maintain a steady heartbeat.
Born in 1920, Otis Boykin was raised in Dallas, Texas by his parents Walter
Benjamin and Sarah Boykin. He graduated from Fisk University in 1941 and
got his first official job with Majestic Radio and TV Corporation in Chicago.
Three years later, he moved to P.J. Nielsen Research Labs in Oak Park,
Illinois to work as a research engineer. In 1949, while attending the Illinois
Institute of Technology, he founded his own company, Boykin-Fruth. In
1964, Boykin also worked as a consultant for several European and
American firms, in his long career, Boykin also invented a type of resistor
(an electric circuit element) commonly in use today in radios, computers
and television sets. Boykin also invented a chemical air filter and a burglar-
proof cash register. For these, and the electronic regulator for the
pacemaker, Boykin was rewarded with a Cultural Science Achievement
Award by The Old Pros Unlimited Club. He belonged to several science
based organizations, including the Chicago Physics Club.
Benjamin S. Carson, Sr. M.D is a pioneer in brain surgical techniques.
However, he is best known for leading the first surgical team that
successfully separated a pair if Siamese twins, who were born, joined at the
head. Born in 1951, Carson came from a poor family in Detroit. As a child,
he has a difficult time in school. Undeterred, the budding young
neurosurgeon studied hard in high school and won a scholarship to Yale
University, where he received his bachelors degree. He went on to study
at the University of Michigans Medical School and became the first black
person accepted into the residency program at Johns Hopkins Hospital in
Baltimore. After spending one in Australia, Carson was promoted to
Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins in 1984. At 31, he was
the youngest doctor to hole such a position. In 1984, Carson performed a
very complex surgical feat when he separated seven month old Siamese
twins, born joined at the back of the head. The surgery was successful,
after a tense and arduous 22-hour operation. Carson has been the
recipient of numerous awards for his pioneering role and development of
brain surgery techniques. Some honors include the Johnson Publication
Companys Black Achievement Award, the Candle Award for Science and
Technology from Morehouse College and an Honorary Doctor of Science
Degree from North Carolina A&T University.
Frederick McKinley Jones is best remembered for devising a method to
refrigerate trucks carrying perishable food, an idea expanded to include air
coolers for ships, planes, and trains. As a result of the method called pre-
fabricated refrigerator construction, meat, fruit, vegetables, and butter
could be transported long distance. Jones was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in
1893 and orphaned at the age of nine. He went to work as a self-taught
auto mechanic. He later mastered electronics and built a radio station
transmitter. His interest in how to combine sound with film in the early
days of movies led to a job with company manufacturing motion picture
equipment. Jones first patent was for a machine to dispense tickets in
movie theaters. During the 1930s, his innovative designs for air-cooling
units for food transported to market by trucks led to formation of a
successful new business. By 1949, the U.S. Thermo Control Company, as it
was called, had profits of $3 million a year. Jones was subsequently
awarded more than 60 patents, 40 for refrigeration equipment alone. In
the 1950s, he served as a consultant on refrigeration problems to both the
United States Defense Department and the Bureau of Standards. His
portable refrigeration systems were used throughout World War II,
primarily to keep medicine and blood at the right temperature on
battlefields and in military hospitals.
Patricia E. Bath, M.D. is the inventor of the cataract Laserphacprobe,
which is the medical instrument to remove cataracts from the eye. In 1975,
Dr. Bath was the first black female surgeon appointed to UCLA and is
credited, along with other Howard University students, for founding the
Student Medical Association and was its first president. Together with
associates and colleagues, Dr. Bath founded the American Institute for the
Prevention of Blindness, and with limited funding provided free vision
screening services to underserved communities.
Dr. bath holds several other firsts: first African American woman surgeon at
Drew Medical School; first woman Program Director (Chief) of a
postgraduate training at Drew; first woman chair of Opthalmology in the
history of the United States, from 1983-1986, Drew-UCLA Residency
Programs; first woman faculty ophthalmologist of ULCA Dept. of
Opthalmology, Jules Stein Eye Institute with her appointment in 1975; first
woman elected to Honorary Medical Staff of UCLA Medical Center upon her
retirement in 1993; elected to Hunter College Hall of Fame in 1988 and
elected as Howard University Pioneer in Academic Medicine in 1993.
As the first African American female physician/inventor, Dr. Bath, in the
early part of her career, devoted herself to the prevention of blindness the
world over. Her intense interest, experience and research on cataracts
culminated in 1985-1986 with her invention of a new device and method to
remove cataracts, called the Laserphacoprobe. With this intervention,
Dr. Patricia E. Bath was able to restore the sight of several individuals who
had been blind for over 30 years.
Dr. Bath has four patents on this laser cataract surgery device covering the
United States, Canada, Japan and Europe.
George Washington Carver is best known for his invention of peanut
butter and peanut oil, however, Carver created over 300 invention s from
the peanut, sweet potato and pecan.
Born into slavery near Diamond Grove, Missouri in 1864, Carver went on to
finish high school. He applied and was accepted to a college in Iowa.
However, when the president discovered that Carver was an African
American, he did not admit him. To support his early years of education,
Carver opened a laundry and later moved to Winterset, Iowa and also
worked as first cook in a large hotel.
Carver later went on to attend Simpson College in Iowa, then Iowa State
College, obtaining Bachelors and Master Degrees pursing his agricultural
work. At Tuskegee Institute, he performed productive agricultural research
in nutrition, chemistry, genetics, plant pathology, soil fertilization and the
use of waste products. Carver not only revealed medical properties in
weeds, but created over 300 products from the peanut, 100 from the pecan
and 118 products from the sweet potato.
George Washington Carver received only three patents for his work with
the peanut. These three patents were for Cosmetics, Paint and Stains
Process, and the Process of Producing Paint. Carvers other inventions
were as follow: Adhesives, Insulating, Board, Shoe Polish Axle Grease,
Linoleum, Shaving Cream, Bleach, Mayonnaise, Sugar, Synthetic Rubber,
Synthetic Marble, Metal Polish, Paper Dyes, Wood Filler, Wood Stains,
Imitation Oysters, Ink.
Additionally, his inventions included Breakfast Food No. 5 with extra
protein for diabetic people from skins of the peanut, and over 30 different
dyes from black to orange/yellow.
George Washington Carver was one of the greatest chemists of all time,
whose products and processes not only revolutionized the economy of the
South but created countless new industries and laid the foundation for new
fields in science.
Ann Moore and her husband worked as Peace Corps volunteers in the
early 1960s. As a pediatric nurse in Africa, Ann saw lots of mothers and
babies every day and noticed the contentment of babies as they spent long
hours snuggled up happily in fabric harnesses against their mothers backs.
Two months after her return to the United States, Ann gave birth to a baby
girl and wanted he same closeness with her child. She developed a fabric
pouch to carry her daughter snugly on her back. With her daughter and her
new invention, she accompanied Martin Luther King on his famous march
from Selma to Montgomery.
Working with her mother, an experience seamstress, she improved the
design, calling it the Snugli. People who saw Ann Moore walking with her
baby began to order the Snugli, and by 1972 orders for 300 Snuglis per
month were pouring in. After receiving the highest ranking reviews by
Consumer Reports and the Wall Street Journal sales hit the $6 million mark.
The business remained a family operation until 1985 when Gerico bought
Ann Moore also invented the Airlift, a padded, portable and adjustable
oxygen carrier. This backpack gives greater freedom to people who need a
steady supply of oxygen. She also designed a shoulder/hand bag and
carrier to fit on the back of a wheelchair or walker.