There are scores of role models in music, sports, and culture celebrated during Black History Month, but quite often, prominent African inventors and innovators get overlooked.
“This is really important for our children and youth to boost their confidence and self-esteem,” said Tarrah Mauricette, program manager at Jaku Konbit’s Academy. “Seeing reflections of themselves in such a capacity is important for facilitating careers in those fields.”
Jaku Konbit, Black History Ottawa and the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization are presenting an exhibit at the Canada Science and Technology Museum this weekend.
The exhibit is an opportunity for people to learn about innovations and inventions by African-Canadians and African-Americans that may have been missed by school textbooks, said Mauricette.
For example, African-Canadian inventor Elijah McCoy helped revolutionize the rail industry in the 1870s with his automatic lubricators for steam engines.
Then there’s African-American Dr. Charles Drew, whose innovations in blood storage techniques during the Second World War enabled allied countries to develop the world’s first large-scale blood banks, and engineer Lonnie Johnson, who made millions after inventing the Super Soaker water guns. Johnson holds nearly 100 patents, many of them for power generation and space exploration.