Black Excellence, Black Invention explores the legacy of the thousands of Black innovators who have made life easier for individuals, businesses and communities through meaningful contributions and inventions.
Inspired by the Black Excellence bookmark celebrating Black inventors created by Dr. Carolyn Ransom-Scott, the display uses library materials and archival resources to show how Black invention is joyful and resistant. It comprises a central exhibit at the African American Center in the Main Library and also includes reminders of Black invention in the world around us at all Library branches. Centered on a non-commercial view of invention, it highlights historical inventions in science and technology as well as documenting Black achievements in art, music, writing, sports and food culture. By celebrating Black invention, we hope to inspire the next generation of inventors and motivate them to remember that Black excellence and genius is responsible for some of the world’s greatest technological and social achievements, from the traffic light to the super soaker to the peanut and much more.
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Banner image: Inventor Charles S.L. Baker with heating system, c. 1906. Courtesy Library of Congress.