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Black Inventors: A Book Unveils Unknown African Scientists

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This book gives the historian, reader, researcher, students, teachers and friends of Africa the opportunity to discover inventors from a world hitherto unknown to many westerners.

It is an invaluable book that discloses information on inventors who, until now have remained obscure and unknown. Black Inventors, Crafting Over 200 Years of Success, clearly outlines Black inventors from over seventy countries.

The author Keith C. Holmes has spent some twenty years researching information on inventions by Black people from such places as Belize, Canada, France, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago. This book points out a number of the inventions, patents and labour saving devices developed by Black inventors.

Africans before the period of enslavement developed a number of inventions: agricultural tools, building materials, medicinal herbs, cloths, and weapons are just a few examples.  Though many Black people were brought to Canada, Caribbean, Central and South America and the United States in chains under the yoke of slavery, it is relatively unknown that many of them developed labour saving devices and inventions that created companies, generated money and jobs. This is one of the first books to address diversity of the Black inventors and their inventions from a global perspective.

The focus of this book is to introduce the readers to the facts that inventions by black people both past and present were developed and patented on a global scale. This also means that there are inventors in every culture people whose ideas have been turned into inventions. In the past, the focus has been on American and European inventors. The new giants in the patenting process are Brazil, China, India, Japan, Nigeria, South Africa and South Korea.

Black inventors from onset of their involvement in the invention and patent process in Western Civilization have made important and earth shattering impact on the world. This book outlines the early Black inventors from the United States including almost all fifty-one states. It documents one of the first Black inventors to obtain a patent in the Caribbean and the United States. In the United States there are now sixteen African American men inducted in to the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Two of the inventors, Jan E. Matziliger, Suriname and Elijah McCoy, Colchester, Canada were born outside the United States. Recently, Dr. Patrica Bath was nominated to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Yet, there are still no African American women who have been inducted into this prestigious organization. Mr. Holmes documents inventions by Black women inventors from Africa, Canada, Caribbean, United Kingdom and the United States. Over the last 500 years Black people from Africa, and their descendents have fully participated in the development of the world’s agricultural, business, medical and scientific innovations and inventions.

According to Holmes, who spent the past two decades cobbling together names of inventors in over 70 countries, “when citing inventors few books mention the accomplishments of Black inventors outside the United States. That list often excludes Black inventors from Africa, Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Central & South America, Europe, Russia and the United Kingdom. That’s about to change, with the internet, access to library resources, and good communications being the key to unlocking the past. The work of uncovering Black inventors has begun. I have to acknowledge the work of Henry E. Baker an African American patent examiner who in 1913 published The Colored Inventor, a Record of Fifty years. This book laid the foundation on the inventions by Black Inventors. It was the first book to explore and cite the various inventions by Africans.

Following in Mr Baker’s The Colored Inventor, footsteps is the booklet Black Inventors, Crafting Over 200 Years of Success covers Black innovators and inventors from a global prospective. It identifies Black inventors from Africa, Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States. This book delivers the necessary materials needed to effectively understand black invention from a global perspective”

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