CSS Celebrates Black History Month

During the month of February, CSS celebrated and recognized Black History, going on a journey each week by learning and discovering amazing facts, trivia, and the contributions of Americans who have impacted our lives!

This week, CSS hosted a Zoom competition that tested team members’ trivia knowledge and what we all learned together. It was a blast! Check out some of the facts the team learned this month below.

10 amazing African American inventors who have changed our world!

Thomas Jennings – Dry Cleaning

• Tradesman and abolitionist in New York City, New York who operated and owned a tailoring business.
• In 1821, he was one of the first African Americans to be granted a patent for his method of dry cleaning.

Garrett Morgan – Traffic Light Signal & Gas Mask

• Inventor, businessman, and community leader.
• His most notable inventions were a three-position traffic signal and a smoke hood notably used in a 1916 tunnel construction disaster rescue.

Madam C.J. Walker – Hair Care Products

• Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist who is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America in the Guinness Book of World Records.
• Walker made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of cosmetics and hair care products for black women through the business she founded, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company.

Shirley Ann Jackson – Caller I.D. & Call Waiting

• Physicist and the eighteenth president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
• She is the first African American woman to have earned a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the second African American woman in the United States to earn a doctorate in physics.
• Conducted breakthrough basic scientific research that enabled others to invent the portable fax, touch-tone telephone, solar cells, fiber optic cables, and the technology behind caller ID and call waiting.

George Washington Carver – 300 Products from Laundry Soaps to Plastics to Diesel Fuel

• Agricultural scientist and inventor who promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion.
• He was the most prominent black scientist of the early 20th century.
• In 1917, Carter revealed what motivated him: “Well, someday I will have to leave this world. And when that day comes, I want to feel that my life has been of some service to my fellow man.”

Jan Ernst Matzeliger – Shoe Making Machine

• Inventor whose lasting machine brought significant change to the manufacturing of shoes.
• Increased shoe making speed from what was 50 hand-made shoes a day to 700 shoes per day with the use of his “lasting machine”.
• The average person could not afford shoes, so the machine-made shoes were more affordable for all Americans.

Lewis Howard Latimer – Incandescent Light Bulb

• Inventor and patent draftsman for the patents of the incandescent light bulb, among other inventions.
• Also invented an improved bathroom in train cars; early version of air conditioning.

Charles Richard Drew – Large Scale Blood Banks

• Surgeon and medical researcher.
• He researched in the field of blood transfusions, developing improved techniques for blood storage, and applied his expert knowledge to developing large-scale blood banks early in World War II.

CSS will be continuing our focus on Diversity Awareness next month with Women’s History Month. Stay tuned!