First African American Patent Holders

Be Woke Presents Black History in Two Minutes (or so)

Black inventors have made significant contributions in the name of not only advancing the American brand, but by way of breaking down a system that didn’t always allow for their innovative brands to exist.

After slavery was abolished, requests for patents rose, and black inventors were able to capitalize off their talents. From folding beds to traffic lights, African-Americans have had a long tradition of improving daily life for everyone. Thomas Jennings and Judy Reed would become the first African-American man and woman to be granted patents for their inventions.

In this series of Black History In Two Minutes or So, hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., with additional commentary from Evelynn Hammonds of Harvard University, let’s take a look at black patent pioneers who laid the foundation for other talented creators.

Archival Materials Courtesy of:

  • Associated Press
  • Alamy Images
  • Getty Images
  • Library of Congress
  • Queens Borough Public Library
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office

Executive Producers:

  • Robert F. Smith
  • Henry Louis Gates Jr.
  • Dyllan McGee
  • Deon Taylor

Music By:

  • Oovra Music

Be Woke presents is brought to you by Robert F. Smith and Deon Taylor.

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