As we celebrate Black History Month we reflect on the many contributions made by African Americans to space exploration, science, mathematics, computing as well as nursing and medicine. These amazing individuals have made extraordinary contributions to their fields and our day-to-day lives. We want to take this time to recognize and honor each of them.
Dr. Alexa Canady
Dr. Alexa Canady became the first female African American neurosurgeon in the United States. As chronicled by the National Institute of Health, Canady specialized in neurosurgery and became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Children's Hospital of Michigan. Under her leadership the hospital and surgical unit came to be known as the best in the country. Dr. Canady was also the first female African American certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery.
Dr. Mae. C. Jemison
Dr. Mae Carol Jemison is known for being a physician as well as a pioneer in space exploration. PBS Learning states she was the first female African American NASA astronaut to travel on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.
Clarence 'Skip' Ellis
Clarence Skip Ellis was the first African American to earn a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois in 1969. As documented by New Relic, he later went on to contribute to the development of the supercomputer as well as the icon-based UI as we know it today. Ellis also became the first African American inducted into the Association of Computer Machinery (ACM).
Goldie D. Brangman
According to Nurse.org, nurse Goldie Brangman was an instrumental part of the surgical team that helped save Dr. Martin Luther King's life during the 1958 assassination attempt. Brangman helped keep Dr. King alive through emergency heart surgery by physically operating the breathing bag. Later on in her career, she served as the CRNA AANA President and volunteered at the American Red Cross even after her 100th birthday in 2017!
Dr. Charles Richard Drew
The American Chemical Society has called Dr. Charles Drew the 'father of the blood bank'. He was the first African American to earn a medical doctorate from Columbia University and became a pioneer in blood transfusion. During WW II his research became critical to providing blood plasma needed on the front lines by soldiers, hence the nickname father of the blood bank. Dr. Drew also innovated mobile blood donation.
Roy L. Clay, Sr.
Roy Clay is a computer programmer who started out his career at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in California. New Relic shares that he later went on to have a substantial impact on Hewlett Packard's computing business by leading their entrance into the market with the 2116A computer.
Dr. Marie Daly
According to the Science History Institute, Dr. Marie Daly is best-known for being a chemist, researcher and activist. She was the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry and closely studied the impact of food and diet on both the cardiovascular and circulatory systems.