African American Innovators and Entrepreneurs
1-31 March 2013
In earlier centuries Africans developed a strong business tradition. Many writings reflect innovative efforts of Americans of African descent, of those who believe in self- reliance and self-motivation. These stalwart, creative men and women helped make a better world.
African Americans have invented and patented in every subject matter, starting with the contribution of enslaved Africans up to and including the leading edge of technology and medical fields at the beginning decades of the 21st century. They are problem solvers who turn obstacles into opportunities––perceiving the question and the answer. Some have changed the course of history, but the majority are obscure figures.
By turning their inventions into wealth, African Americans with patents push hard to exploit their patented concepts through business ventures and various enterprises in spite of enormous obstacles. They want to improve the human condition and, in turn, bring to themselves greater financial security and higher social status. The ever-present climate of bigotry and narrow-mindedness continues to challenge Black innovators to achieve. Accordingly they are energized in their efforts to succeed.
We believe that creativity is contagious; once you have become infected with it, you never lose it. We seek to inspire creative genius in the present generation of our people by showing the creative productivity of past generations, a people who did more with less. The young as well as the old must have visions. They must create things; they must see things that are and make them what they ought to be.With this exhibition, we call upon all who see it to become inventors. This is our message: To become a creative inventor of things and ideas is the highest good. It does not matter who you are––your age, your sex, your parentage, your educational background. To be truly great, you must create. Through creativity and inventiveness you can make a difference in our world and how we relate to each other. ––Portia P. James, The Real McCoy, 1989
The Museum for Black Innovation and Entrepreneurship gratefully acknowledges the United States Patent and Trademark Office, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, for its generous loan of artwork depicting Black inventors and their patents. The fourteen pieces of art reflect a portion of the breadth and depth of Black inventors as part of our Nation's history.
Photos from left to right, top to bottom:
1. Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy and Dr. Tiffani Bailey Lash, organic chemists and founders of Tea and Honey Blends
2. Tambra Raye, nutritionist and founder of NativSol
3. Visitors arriving early.
4. Visitors assembling for the Keynote.
5. Patricia Carter Sluby delivers the Keynote.
6. Harp music by Victoria Payton Webber