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9 Black Female Inventors

In light of Black History Month, we would like to highlight some products that were invented or have been improved by women of color. 

Dr. Shirley Jackson

Dr. Shirley Jackson gave us the touch-tone phone, portable fax machine and caller ID among other things. 


Marie van Brittan Brown

Thanks to the contribution of Marie van Brittan Brown, we can feel safer. She invented the closed-circuit television security system. This system is used all over, to help keep us safe. 

Dr. Patricia Bath

Dr. Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe which is a laser to remove cataracts. With her invention, removing cataracts is safer and cleaner. 

Sarah Breedlove AKA Madam C.J. Walker

Madame C.J. Walker is always one of the first Black inventors that we learn about. She was the first self-made millionaire with her hair and beauty product business. She paved the way for many Black beauticians and African-American owned hair businesses. 

Sarah Boone

Sarah Boone improved on the ironing board by making it easier to iron sleeves and women’s clothing. Her new and improved board was also easier to store. 

Theora Stephens

Another pioneer for African American hair, Stephens created the pressing/ curling iron in 1983. 

Alice Parker

Parker improved how people heated their homes. She invented a gas heating furnace for central heating in 1919. 

Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner

Kenner improved the mechanism for the bathroom tissue holder in 1982. Many of us have a variation of this in our homes or dorm room bathrooms. 

Maxine Snowden

Maxine Snowden invented the rain hat in 1983. Thanks to her we don’t have to worry about our hair in the rain. 



Tabia is a senior at SUNY University at Albany. She is studying Journalism with a minor in History and Africana Studies. She would love a career in Journalism as an Arts and Entertainment Reporter. She wants to go to graduate school in her native New York City or Boston, Massachusetts. In her spare time she likes to dance, sing, watch new shows on Hulu and read Her Campus articles. She is currently the Podium Perspective Director and a Staff Writer for the Albany Student Press and a founding member of Kappa Alpha Pi. Go Danes!
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