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Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Social Justice

The National Inventors Hall of Fame will induct the first African American woman

Adding black women to the Hall of Fame will mark the first time such an accomplishment has been accomplished.



Credit: Aditya Joshi

Adding black women to the Hall of Fame will mark the first time such an accomplishment has been accomplished.

Next year, Marian Croak and the late Dr. Patricia Bath will join other notable innovators such as the inventor of ibuprofen, the inventor of the Super Soaker toy, and the inventor of the sports bra. As the first women of color inducted into the exclusive club, Croak and Bath will be the only members of their race to be included.

Founder of VoIP, Croak allows users to make calls over the internet rather than using a phone line. He is presently a vice president at Google. Her patent portfolio includes over 200 inventions. “Seeing someone who is similar to them inspires people, and that’s why I’m proud to be a part of the induction,” she said earlier this month.

Babath, who died in 2019, developed an easy-to-use device used in cataract surgery. She was the first Black woman doctor to get a patent, the first woman to chair a residency program, the first woman at UCLA to be on the faculty of the department of ophthalmology and one of the first researchers to prove that glaucoma mostly affects black people.

In her remarks, Erika Jefferson, founder of Black Women in Science and Engineering (BWISE), described the honor as being “bittersweet” since Bath Charles may not be around to receive the honor, and it will be almost 50 years before Black woman are inducted.

The trails being blazed by Patricia Baths and Marian Croaks, but they have not yet been discovered,” Jefferson said. We must ensure that these two incredible ladies receive the support and attention they deserve. It is not enough to watch them receive this honor. It is vital that advocacy procedures are in place to ensure that they receive the appropriate attention and support.”

Inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame include 610 individuals. Of these, 48 are women, and 30 are African-Americans. Even more exciting is the fact that there are not as many Latino and Asian inventors as there are white inventors, a statement from Rini Paiva, vice president for selection and recognition at the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The committee recognizes the need for diversity among its inductees, Paiva said. Nonetheless, we are determined to ensure Black innovators are regularly acknowledged.”

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