In Depth: Singing The Praises Of African American Inventors

Feb 27, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - We conclude our series of Black History Month Reports with a look at famous, and not so famous, African American Inventors. Special Thanks to Yvonne Giles with the Isaac Scott Hathaway African American History Museum.

Yvonne says African-Americans have invented or improved upon many things we use in our every day lives.

From the dry cleaning process that originated in 1821 to the super soaker water toy invented in 1989, she says the list of black inventors is long. But Giles believes there is a detail that many overlook: the number of women on the list.

"Women had to work and deal with implements and things that didn't quite work well and they improved them," says Giles.

She recalls one area that women really dominated was hair care, like the synthetic bristle brush and African American specific hair products, just to name a few.

When Giles asks the younger generation to explain how they perform some of their basic tasks, like buttering a biscuit or washing their clothes, she shows them some of the original devices created by African Americans. You can see some of these inventive items on display at the Isaac Scott Hathaway African American History Museum, in the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center on Georgetown Street in Lexington.