Vocability: African American Inventors

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Vocabulary building is more than using multisyllabic or obscure words; it encompasses knowledge about subject matter that is timely. As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s take time to gain knowledge on it and the people who made it so noteworthy.

Below is a list of African American inventors who have made contributions to our society and their corresponding inventions. Good luck in making the matches. The answers can always be found at the end of the column.



1.  Nathaniel Alexander —

2.  Benjamin Banneker—

3. Virgie Ammons —

4. Janet Emerson Bashen—

5. Henry Blair –

6. Andrew Beard

7. Bessie Blount –

8. Charles Brooks –

9. Sarah Boone—

10 Donald Cotton—

11.  George Washington Carver—

12. George Carruthers –

13. Mark Dean and Dennis Moeller—

14. Augustus Jackson —

15. Lyda Newman —



A. Was a self-educated scientist, astronomer, inventor, writer, and antislavery publicist. He built a striking clock entirely from wood, published a Farmers’ Almanac, and actively campaigned against slavery. He was one of the first African Americans to gain distinction in science.

B. This inventor,  of Newark, New Jersey invented improvements to street sweeper trucks that he patented on March 17, 1896.

C. This person invented propellants for nuclear reactors.

D. The first African American female to hold a patent for a software invention.

E. An improvement to the ironing board was patented by this person on December 30, 1887.

F. This person is an inventor and women of color who invented a device for dampening fireplaces.

G. As an agricultural chemist, he discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more uses for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes

H This person created a microcomputer system with bus control means for peripheral processing devices. Their invention paved the way for the growth in the information technology industry. We can plug into our computers peripherals like disk drives, video gear, speakers, and scanners.

I This person is noted as the second black inventor to be issued a patent.

J This person patented a new and improved brush.

K. This person patented a folding chair.

L. This person invented a Far-Ultraviolet Camera and Spectrograph

M. This person was a Physical Therapist who patented a device that allowed amputees to feed themselves

N. This person created several ice cream recipes.

O. This person was a farmer, carpenter, blacksmith, a railroad worker, a businessman and finally an inventor.



1.K; 2.F; 3.A; 4. D; 5. I.; 6. O; 7. M; 8. B; 9. E; 10. C; 11.G; 12. L; 13.H; 14.N; and 15. J.