Charles Richard Drew
Discovered a method of separating red blood cells from plasma and then storing the two components separately, which allowed blood to be stored for more than a week. Drew documented these findings in a paper that led to the first blood bank.
Frederick McKinley Jones
Worked as a mechanic and taught himself electronics. In 1940, patented a refrigeration system for vehicles, which allowed for a global market for fresh produce and enabled hospitals to receive shipments of blood and vaccines. Became the first African American to receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
An inventor and an engineer with a special interest in resistors. His mother died from heart failure when he was a year old. In the 1950s, filed a patent for a resistor that paved the way for a pacemaker control unit, vastly improving pacemakers.
An innovative research scientist and advocate for blindness prevention, treatment, and cure. An ophthalmologist and laser scientist, her accomplishments include the invention of a new device and technique for cataract surgery known as a laserphaco, leading to the creating of a new discipline known as “community ophthalmology.”
An economist, political commentator, and the author of more than 45 books. Earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968; declined offers to be Federal Trade Commissioner and Secretary of Education. His book, Knowledge and Decisions, won the 1980 Law and Economics Center Prize and was heralded as a “landmark work.”
Marie Van Brittan Brown
Worried about high crime rates, she rigged a motorized camera to record her home entryway and project images onto a TV, set up a two-way microphone to talk to visitors outside, and included a button to alert authorities. Her invention, patented in 1969, was the first closed-circuit video security system and is the predecessor to modern home systems.
Patented a smoke hood, a personal breathing device to help protect miners and firefighters from smoke and harmful guesses that was the precursor to the gas mask. Later, created a light with signals after witnessing a crash between a car and buggy; patented this traffic light in 1923, which became the basis for the modern traffic light system.