It was shocking to learn from the New York Public Library African American Desk Reference list (1999) purchased recently about a number of African American inventors about whom I had never heard! Probably most of us knew about George Washington Carver inventing peanut butter (in 1896), but he’s the only one that I remember studying in school.

Here’s another inventor of color, whom we can thank as we manage the heat this summer: Frederick McKinley Jones invented the air conditioning unit in 1949, as well as refrigeration for trains and trucks. Find more information on Frederick Jones at: and the book Black Inventors of America, by McKinley Burt, Jr. More examples of African American inventors to come in later newsletters. These individuals have made a positive impact on all our lives.