Seven Black Inventors Whose Patents Helped Shape American Life

Black inventors’ paths to securing a patent within the United States have traditionally been jammed with obstacles.

Before the abolition of slavery, the United States Patent and Trademark Office excluded slaves from proudly owning patents. Because slaves themselves had been thought of property, they may not personal property.

After the Civil War, black inventors confronted widespread and virulent racism from white establishments that doubted their ingenuity and stood in the way in which of their success, Rayvon Fouché wrote in “Black Inventors in the Age of Segregation.”

Black Americans had restricted alternatives to obtain technical coaching, Mr. Fouché wrote. And skilled organizations that had been typically important for making enterprise connections didn’t enable black individuals of their ranks.

Still, many black inventors have overcome these obstacles to safe their very own patents — although the advertising and marketing of these merchandise introduced additional challenges. With Black History Month nearing its finish, we seemed again at seven such innovators.

In the late 1960s, Marie Van Brittan Brown, who worked as a nurse, patented a invention that became a technological precursor to the modern home security system.

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