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The thirst for knowledge and drive to innovate runs well beyond race and gender. The black inventor, throughout history, has made significant contributions to many fields, including commerce, science and medicine.
- The first African American to receive a patent was Thomas L. Jennings who invented a method for dry cleaning clothes in 1821. The money he earned from his patent allowed him to liberate his family out of slavery.
- The first African American woman to receive a patent was Sarah E. Goode in 1885 for her folding cabinet bed. She owned a furniture store in Chicago and recognized the need for people to save space in urban living.
- In 1969, Marie Brown patented the first video home security system.
- Phil Brooks invented the disposable syringe in the 1970s, a major medical improvement.
- David Crosthwait held 34 U.S. patents and 80 foreign patents. Among his innovations was the heating system he designed for New York's Rockefeller Center.