A lighthouse of achievement can be found in the inventions and scientific discoveries of Africans worldwide. Reflecting on cultural milestones helps to drown out the predictable rhetoric otherwise. When I found out that a Black woman named Sarah Boone invented the ironing board, I-was-done. I was done with any attempts by mainstream media to undermine our achievements; I was done with our historical contributions strategically left out of textbooks.
The curated book list presented here will be a dynamic one. There have been many books over the years that have unfortunately come and gone on the topic. It is the very reason that I caution customers to grab a book sooner than later if it is “calling” them. Those who enjoyed browsing the shelves at Afriware Books, Co pre-COVID miss this informal ritual most when shopping for books in-store. Unlike browsing online, the in-store experience comes with the added bonus of a deeply personal exchange where a book will almost “call your name.” For reasons unknown, I’ve noticed that the inventions and scientific discoveries category has one of the highest rates of books abruptly going in then out of print or circulation.
Books List on Black Inventors and Scientists
Sigh, the previous paragraph has triggered the conspiracy theory part of me which I'll indulge for only a few sentences, I promise. While I don’t think it serves our best interests to belabor unproven theories that aren’t empowering, I do think it is important to make a note and keep it in our back pocket to check occasionally in case there’s a need to adjust our forward march to freedom and liberation. Sometimes, I can’t help but think that the reason it is uncommonly hard to find and keep these titles in print is because of the intellectually impacting potency of the content presented making it almost dangerous to reveal on a steady-state basis. This category of books represents the crowning glory of our culture. I always believe that we've been educated about our accomplishments, we will instantaneously transform from a walking dead state back to back to life. It sits squarely with the idea (paraphrasing Malcolm X) that if you think you never did anything, then you can never do anything. When the truth is out, eyes become wide open and our decisions are better informed and strategic…
But I digress…
My greater point is that our inventions and scientific discoveries have shaped the world as we know it. Awareness of this is fortifying to our resolve to push forward despite what we may see in the media. I was happy to see a book released called, “Black People Invented Everything” by Dr. Sujan Kumar Dass after a prolonged pause in the publishing industry. The last comprehensive work that was published on the topic was in 2013 with one for adults and one for children, namely “Scientists, Healers, and Inventors: An Introduction for Young Readers (First),” and, “What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors” respectively. This is stark raving unacceptable to me because of the potentially life changing impact it could have on young people. For a list of STEM books for young people, I refer you to my blog prior to this one called, "STEM for Black Students."
In ”Black People Invented Everything," the reader is inundated with inventions in all categories including science, technology, agriculture, medicine, manufacturing, business, language, mining, sports and much more. In the author’s words, the book “touches on so much, and offers so many paths for further discussion and explorations, it could spark conversations for decades to come. Telling these stories, telling the original history, can change our present and our future deeply.“ The pictures sprinkled throughout lend credibility to what could be thought of as far fetched or exaggerated. The cover alone draws pause for proud reflection with its ancient sculpture rich content.
As always, if you’d like to know more, I encourage you to read for yourself and come to your own conclusions. All titles mentioned in this post are available from Afriware Books, Co, a Black-owned bookstore. If you do not find the title on the site, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org