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Black History: Scientists and Inventors

The Frog Scientist [1]I wish all science books were written like this one! The Frog Scientist [1] is the story of Dr. Tyrone Hayes who started out as a boy collecting frogs, turtles and snakes in the swamp near his home. Fast forward 20 years and Tyrone is a Harvard graduate studying frogs. He’s a frog scientist, just like he always wanted to be.

As you read the book you learn about how Tyrone became a scientist, but you also learn about how he does his research. You see pictures of Tyrone out in the wild collecting samples and inside his lab studying frogs under a microscope. Tyrone’s research is about the affects of pesticides on frogs. Pesticides are chemicals that farmers spray on crops to kill pests like insects or weeds. In particular, he studies atrazine, a chemical used to kill weeds. Reading this book just might make you want to follow the debate about whether or not atrazine should be used. According to Tyrone’s research, the chemical causes all kinds of problems in frogs…they can grow extra legs or even make a boy frog turn into a girl frog!

This book has fabulous pictures of frogs, frog parts & frog insides. There are also great pictures of Tyrone and his students in his lab or out in the wild collecting specimens. The pictures are all crisp and clear and full of color. I really liked the pictures inside the lab. I also liked hearing about being a scientist right from Tyrone. The author used Tyrone’s real words throughout the book. It was cool to read about a little boy who grew up to do exactly what he dreamed of doing. It’s also cool to read about someone that is really passionate about what they do.

Listed below are books, websites & databases that will help you learn about African American scientists and inventors. Here are two inventive contributions, both are Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis [2].

Madam C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower [3] 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. [4]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 [5] – 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 athletes, visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture [6] 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? [18] Biography in Context will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about African American scientists [17] and inventors [19].


IndyPLLibraryCard100 [20]
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? [18]Overdrive [21]

National Georgraphic Kids George Washington Carver [22]What Color Is My World? [23]


Mae Jemison [24]African American Inventors [25]Brilliant African American Scientists 9 Exceptional Lives [26]Black Inventors [27]Black Stars African American Inventors [28]Charles Drew [29]Daniel Hale Williams [30]Garrett Morgan [31]George Washington Carver [32]Inspiring African American Inventors 9 Inspiring Lives [33]Lewis Latimer [34]Madam C.J. Walker Inventor and Millionaire [35]Ticktock Banneker's Clock [36]Urban Biologist Danielle Lee [37]

More Info Guides about Black History:

To learn even more about fascinating and inspiring black history makers, visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture [6] at Central Library. The Center is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots.


WeNeedDiverseBooks Logo [49]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 [49]

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