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Black Geeks, Nerds, and Scientists

Honoring Some of Our Favorite Geeks For Black History Month

We may have Valentine's Day on the brain, but February also marks an important time of the year — Black History Month. In honor of Black History Month, let's take a look at some of our favorite geeks, both past and present. Everyone on this list has made vast contributions to furthering tech as we know it.

  • Dwayne McDuffie — The recently passed McDuffie wrote comic books for both Marvel and DC (including Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, the Fantastic Four and the Justice League of America) before founding his own company, Milestone Media, which helped pioneer the use of multicultural characters as its heroes.
  • Mark Dean — Nerd alert! Without Dean, there may not have been a PC — he holds three of IBM's original nine PC patents, leading the teams that developed the ISA bus and the first one-gigahertz chip.
  • Mae Carol Jemison — It doesn't get much geekier than space travel; Jemison was the first black woman to travel in space.
  • Philip Emeagwali — We can all blame Emeagwali for our Internet addiction. He developed the fastest supercomputer software in the world. His IQ is too high to be measured by conventional standards, and he's won a Gordon Bell Prize, which is like the Nobel Prize for computer science.
  • See the rest of the notables when you read more.

  • Aprille Ericsson-Jackson — A graduate of MIT and Howard University, Ericsson is the first black female to receive a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University and the first black woman to receive a PhD in Engineering at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Besides her numerous accolades, she's a big time crusader of encouraging young women to get involved in the math and sciences.
  • Benjamin Banneker — It's easy to see why Wired calls Benjamin Banneker the "first African-American geek." Born in 1731, Banneker was a passionate astronomer and mathematician who is also said to have built America's first working clock. Other talents included urban planning — he helped design the nation's capital! — and farming.
  • MC Hammer — Forget parachute pants, Hammer 2.0 is all about getting techy. Besides investing in numerous tech businesses, Hammer lectures at places like Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford, about emerging social media. He should know; he has over two million Twitter followers and tweets about 30 to 40 times a day.

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dgtlfnk dgtlfnk 5 years
What Pat said!! :) How in the world did you miss NdGT?? And MC Hammer? Really? Just because you INVEST in tech companies, that doesn't make you a techy, geeky OR nerdy. As well, just because 2 million pop culture fans follow him on Twitter, and his ego keeps him tweeting 30 to 40 times a day... that in no way, shape or form qualifies for this list. Lame.
Pat-05 Pat-05 5 years
Garrett Morgan -1877-1963: Inventer of the gas mask and stop light Neil de Grasse Tysson: B.A. from Harvard University (1980 physics); MS University of Texas at Austin ( ): Ph.D. from Columbia University (Astrophysics). With more than 60 televised interviews, a regular column on astronomy in the science magazine Natural History, six books on astronomy, and in his high profile job as the youngest ever director of the world-class Hayden Planetarium in New York City, Neil de Grasse Tyson has over the past several years become the nation's most recognized astrophysicist.
Kristy-Ellington Kristy-Ellington 6 years
Hi chicbutantiignorant — this article was intended to honor geeks of African American decent during Black History Month (February). In no way are we intending to "demoralize" anyone. If you have any questions about this piece, please let us know via the contact form!
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