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Black History: Scientists and Inventors

All About Madam C.J. Walker [1]

Madam C. J. Walker is recognized as America’s first female self-made millionaire. Walker made her fortune inventing and selling beauty and hair products for black women through her company, Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company.

You are invited to hear the author of All About Madam C.J. Walker [1], A’Lelia Bundles, discuss her book Thursday, February 22nd, 6:30pm at Central Library [2] A’Lelia Madam Walker’s great-great granddaughter. Listed below are books, websites & databases that will help you learn about more African American scientists and inventors.

Here are two contributions from African American inventors, both are Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis [3].

Madam C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower [4] Sarah Breedlove Walker, better known as Madam C.J. Walker, was a central figure in the development of the African-American market for commercial beauty products. [5]She developed a formula for hair growth and a steel straightening comb and ointment. Starting with door-to-door sales of these products, she built a business empire. Not only did the business bring her personal success, but it also opened up new job opportunities for African-American women as sales agents and Beauty Culturists.

Traffic Signal [6] – Garrett Morgan worked to bring order to busy streets. In 1922 he observed an accident. After seeing the confusion, Morgan improved the stationary Stop and Go lights by adding a warning pause so that drivers knew the light was about to change. An African American, Morgan had difficulty promoting his ideas.

To learn even more about fascinating and inspiring black scientists and inventors, visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture [7] at Central Library. The Center is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots.




Biography in Context is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home with your IndyPL Library Card. Login using your library card number and PIN. What’s My PIN? [19] Biography in Context will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about African American scientists [18] and inventors [20].


IndyPLLibraryCard100 [21]
Use your indyPL Library Card number and PIN to check out FREE Online eBooks. Click on a book jacket & enter your Library Card number and PIN to borrow. What’s My PIN? [19]Overdrive [22]

National Georgraphic Kids George Washington Carver [23]What Color Is My World? [24]


Mae Jemison [25]African American Inventors [26]Brilliant African American Scientists 9 Exceptional Lives [27]Black Inventors [28]Black Stars African American Inventors [29]Charles Drew [30]Daniel Hale Williams [31]Garrett Morgan [32]George Washington Carver [33]Inspiring African American Inventors 9 Inspiring Lives [34]Lewis Latimer [35]Madam C.J. Walker Inventor and Millionaire [36]Ticktock Banneker's Clock [37]Urban Biologist Danielle Lee [38]

More Info Guides about Black History:


WeNeedDiverseBooks Logo [50]To get young people engaged, one of the things they need is to see themselves in books. It is important for all of us to see ourselves in books, because that encourages us to read in a different way and encourages us to write more.” ~ Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott Founder of the African American Read-in #weneeddiversebooks [50]

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