African American History Month Heroes – Engineering, Manufacturing, and Building Arts

African American History Month banner for engineering

Tarpon Springs Campus students created a display of heroes who are not often listed during the celebration of African American History Month. The display will be in the Library/Learning Center in the campus’ FA building through the end of February.

This blog post was written by Katherine Deschamps, one of the students who helped create the Tarpon Springs Campus display of African American History Month heroes. Ethan Hart, Associate Director of Learning Resources at the Tarpon Springs Campus, worked with students to develop this project. 

Gerald A. Lawson, O.S. Williams, Elijah Mccoy, Mary Winston Jackson, and Valerie Thomas are among African American History Month heroes whose work has impacted the fields of engineering, manufacturing, and building arts.

Gerald A. Lawson
Portrait of Gerald A. Lawson for African American History Month
Gerald A. Lawson

Gerald A. Lawson is famous for being a video game pioneer, and he is one of the few African American engineers who worked in computing at the dawn of the video game era.

O.S. Williams
Portrait of O.S. Williams for African American History Month
O.S. Williams

O.S. Williams, also known as Ozzie Williams, is an aeronautical engineer and designer of small rocket engines. He was the second African American to earn a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and the first to be hired as an engineer by Republic Aviation in the 1940s.

Elijah Mccoy
Portrait of Elijah Mccoy for African American History Month
Elijah Mccoy

Elijah Mccoy trained to be an engineer in Scotland as a teenager and later invented a lubrication device to make railroad operations more efficient.

Mary Winston Jackson
Portrait of Mary Winston Jackson for African American History Month
Mary Winston Jackson

Mary Winston Jackson got her Bachelor of Science degree in both Mathematics and Physical science and taught in Maryland prior to joining NASA. She was instrumental in challenging discrimination in the workplace and helped other women and minorities secure promotions and career advancement at NASA. Mary’s story is depicted in the book Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Valerie Thomas
Portrait of Valerie Thomas for African American History Month
Valerie Thomas

Last, but not least, is Valerie Thomas, who earned a degree in Physics from Morgan State University and worked for NASA from 1964-1995. During her time at NASA, she contributed broadly to the organization’s research efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

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