15 Famous Black Scientists in History

Famous Black Scientists in History

Black people were not usually allowed to acquire formal education during the slavery era. As a matter of fact, various laws were passed in the South disallowing slave literacy in the wake of the slave rebellions and revolts. Nevertheless countless black scientists and inventors have made significant contributions to society and humanity.

In this article at Famous Scientists, we will discuss the famous black scientists, physicians, inventors throughout history and their wonderful achievements.

Benjamin Banneker (November 9, 1731 – October 9, 1806)

Benjamin Banneker

African American astronomer, mathematician and author who who constructed America’s first functional clock.

Charles Drew (3 June 1904 – 1 April 1950)

Charles Drew

American physician, surgeon and medical researcher known as the inventor of the blood bank.

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (January 18, 1858 – August 4, 1931)

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams

African American physician who performed the first prototype open-heart surgery.


Emmett Chappelle (born October 25, 1925)

Emmett Chappelle

African American scientist and researcher and a recipient of 14 U.S. patents, who discovered that a particular combination of chemicals caused all living organisms to emit light.

Ernest Everett Just (August 14, 1883 – October 27, 1941)

Ernest Everett Just

African American biologist and author known for his work on egg fertilization and the structure of the cell.

Garrett Morgan (March 4, 1877 – August 27, 1963)

Garrett Morgan

African American inventor who made both the first traffic signal invention and the first patented gas mask.

George Washington Carver (January 1864 – January 5, 1943)

George Washington Carver

American scientist and inventor and an extraordinary explorer and innovator of agricultural science.

James West (born February 10, 1931)

James West

African-American inventor who developed the mic in the 1960s; holds 47 U.S. and more than 200 foreign patents on microphones and techniques for making polymer foil-electrets.

Mae Jemison (born October 17, 1956)

Mae Jemison

American physician and NASA astronaut known for being the first black woman to travel in space.

Marie Maynard Daly (April 16, 1921 – October 28, 2003)

Marie Maynard Daly

The first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry.

Norbert Rillieux (March 17, 1806 – October 8, 1894)

Norbert Rillieux

American inventor and engineer, best remembered for his invention of the multiple-effect evaporator.

Patricia Bath (born November 4, 1942)

Patricia Bath

American ophthalmologist and inventor known for being the first African American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention.

Percy Lavon Julian (April 11, 1899 – April 19, 1975)

Percy Lavon Julian

African American researcher known for being a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants.

Philip Emeagwali (born August 23, 1954)

Philip Emeagwali

Nigerian-born scientist and inventor known for first using a Connection Machine supercomputer to help analyze petroleum fields.

Prof. Samuel Massie Jr. (July 3, 1919 – April 10, 2005)

Prof. Samuel Massie Jr.

An organic chemist who was the first African American to teach at the U.S. Naval Academy.



  1. Bryan says

    Thank you so much for this. It’s hard trying to be a black man and be viewed and respected as intelligent and a software engineer. This greatly motivates and keeps me pushing!

  2. Erika says

    Great website!
    Black people have achieved so much despite great obstacles , but they never gave up even though the odds where against them. They deserve much more respect then they get, i didint know about any of them before. Thank you for the information.:-)

  3. Kelson says

    This is really inspirational, glad to see that there are black people in these areas.