The Official Black History Month Thread!

When is white history month?
Back when I was in grade school, we only ever learned about black historical figures in February. That's it. And even then, it was the same 2 people all the time (MLK, Rosa Parks). But every other historical figure we learned about during every other month of the year (except that Semester in 6th grade where we learned about Asia) was white. You don't need a White History Month to learn about important white people in history. We're all taught about them all the time.
A question I have is this, does black history month solely centre around African-Americans?

I understand why the focus is there considering the major advancements some of these people fought for, but wouldn't it be just as healthy to take some pride in the Africa your ancestors were abducted from?

I guess a lot of the history has been lost because of colonialism and all the horror that has ensued there as a result of that, but there is a lot of legend, a lot of spirit, a lot of cultures that prevail in the face of the impossible, proud cultures, proud people.

A lot of effort was put into making black people forget their roots, forget their languages, forget their religions, being forced into Christianity and to speak English, so overwhelmed with imposed problems that there wasn't much place for sympathy for those of your homeland.

There is a lot to be proud of, and a lot for us whites to be shameful of, regardless of whether or not we played apart in it all.
The horror still going on right?
I refuse to be ashamed and feel guilty. Sounds ignorant but whatever, it's not that I don't understand but I'm just not going to hate myself..

In reality, the world isn't about making friends...**** like this happened for centuries. Sadly that's what conquering nations are like...:csad:

Call me racist or whatever you want to call me...I know what I am and what I am not.
Well perhaps feeling shame is counter productive, but at least letting yourself know the history, the realities, accepting there is such a thing as white privilege, and choosing to do something about it or I guess taking advantage of it and riding it out.

Basically the last thing is what seems immediately obvious to the individualistic mind state we have grown up with. But sometimes we should go so far as question the way we think.
This thread isn't about making people feel ashamed for things their ancestors did in the past. It's about giving props to the often overlooked.
But there is a lot that is overlooked, and I figure pushing for equal rights would be better then having ones own month.
There is a lot of systematic racism that is far from eroding, a lot of unjust things that won't go away when white people ostensibly act like they give a **** for a month.
Shame was the wrong word to use, nothing good comes from sticking ones head up their ass and feeling sorry for something their ancestors, or their "race" played apart in.

Anyways sorry for taking attention from the celebration, just another white guy raining on your parade...
The sad truth about equal rights between races is that the races placed below the others need to be pushed higher, and that requires giving them more attention. The goal is that, one day, that constant push won't be necessary, and all races will be able to stand equally tall. Until that day, the upward pushing continues.

Now, these pushes are done in accordance to what needs to be seen most. For instance, let's talk about riding on the bus in Alabama. It used to be, white people could sit anywhere they wanted, but black people had to sit in the back. When time came for equality, black people didn't just start sitting wherever they wanted; after multiple protests and boycotts, and after the laws were changed to allow black people to sit up front, I'll betcha by golly wow there were quite a few black people that went out of their way to sit at the front of the bus. Sure, we could've sat wherever the hell we wanted, but a point had to be made that we could *and would) sit at the front. That, my friend, was a necessary push.
Time passed, and now no one feels compelled to sit at any part of the bus, based on race. Black people choose to sit everywhere but the driver's seat. The push is no longer needed.

In this case, we're talking about history. Now that old white historians are finally willing to admit we weren't too stupid to contribute to society, we could just stop, and accept that our people have a place in history. But we needed to do more than that. We needed a push. So we're putting all of our history at the forefront for one month, so people will finally pay attention to it. That's why we're going as far as to tell you that one of us innovated ways to eat peanuts. I can bet you a ton of people know a black man helped inspire peanut butter; god only knows what Greek thought up jelly.
The goal is that, in the future, we won't need this month. We'll push until history is a bit more equal.

It can be argued that Black History Month might not be necessary, anymore. But it was damn sure necessary when it first came about.
This thread isn't about making people feel ashamed for things their ancestors did in the past. It's about giving props to the often overlooked.

I'm all for me:up:


Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an American educator, author and leader of the African American community. He was freed from slavery as a child, gained an education, and as a young man was appointed to lead a teachers' college for blacks. From this position of leadership he rose into a nationally prominent role as spokesman for African Americans.

Washington was born into slavery to a white father, about whom he knew little, and a black slave mother on a rural farm in southwest Virginia. This made him mixed race as are, to one degree or another (as a result of the chattel legacy), many African Americans; yet the so-called "one drop rule" ensured that he grew up in the social category of Negro. He was freed in 1865 at the end of the Civil War by the Thirteenth Amendment. After working in saltfurnaces and coalmines in West Virginia for several years, he made his way east to a school which became Hampton University. There, he worked his way through, later attending Wayland Seminary to return as an instructor. In 1881, he was recommended by Hampton president Samuel C. Armstrong to become the first leader of the new normal school (teachers' college) which became Tuskegee University in Alabama, where he served the rest of his life.

Washington was the dominant figure in the African American community in the United States from 1890 to 1915, especially after he achieved prominence for his Atlanta Address of 1895. To many politicians and the public in general, he was seen as a popular spokesperson for African American citizens. Representing the last generation of black leaders born into slavery, he was generally perceived as a credible proponent of educational improvements for those freedmen who had remained in the post-Reconstruction, Jim Crow South. Throughout the final 20 years of his life, he maintained this standing through a nationwide network of core supporters in many communities, including black educators, ministers, editors and businessmen, especially those who were liberal-thinking on social and educational issues. He gained access to top national leaders in politics, philanthropy and education, and was awarded honorary degrees. Critics called his network of supporters the "Tuskegee Machine."
Late in his career, Washington was criticized by the leaders of the NAACP, which was formed in 1909, especially W.E.B. Du Bois, who demanded a harder line on civil rights protests. After being labeled "The Great Accommodator" by Du Bois, Washington replied that confrontation would lead to disaster for the outnumbered blacks, and that cooperation with supportive whites was the only way to overcome pervasive racism in the long run. Although he did some aggressive civil rights work secretively, such as funding court cases, he seemed to truly believe in skillful accommodation to many of the social realities of the age of segregation. While apparently resigned to many undesirable social conditions in the short term, he also clearly had his eyes on a better future for blacks. Through his own personal experience, Washington knew that good education was a major and powerful tool for individuals to collectively accomplish that better future.

Washington's philosophy and tireless work on education issues helped him enlist both the moral and substantial financial support of many philanthropists. He became friends with such self-made men from modest beginnings as Standard Oil magnate Henry Huttleston Rogers and Sears, Roebuck and Company President Julius Rosenwald. These individuals and many other wealthy men and women funded his causes, such as supporting the institutions of higher education at Hampton and Tuskegee. Each school was originally founded to produce teachers. However, graduates had often gone back to their local communities only to find precious few schools and educational resources to work with in the largely impoverished South. To address those needs, through provision of millions of dollars and innovative matching funds programs, Washington and his philanthropic network stimulated local community contributions to build small community schools.

Together, these efforts eventually established and operated over 5,000 schools and supporting resources for the betterment of blacks throughout the South in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The local schools were a source of much community pride and were of priceless value to African-American families during those troubled times in public education. This work was a major part of his legacy and was continued (and expanded through the Rosenwald Fund and others) for many years after Washington's death in 1915.
Washington did much to improve the overall friendship and working relationship between the races in the United States. His autobiography, Up From Slavery, first published in 1901, is still widely read today.


Paul Leroy Robeson was born in Princeton, New Jersey, on April 9, 1898, the fifth and last child of Maria Louisa Bustill and William Drew Robeson. During these early years the Robeson's experienced both family and financial losses. At the age of six Paul and his siblings, William, Reeve, Ben and Marian suffered the death of their mother in a household fire. This was followed a few years later with their father's loss of his Princeton pastorate. After moving first to Westfield, the family finally settled in Somerville, New Jersey, in 1909, where William Robeson was appointed pastor of St. Thomas AME Zion Church.

Enrolling in Somerville High School, one of only two blacks, Paul Robeson excelled academically while successfully competing in debate, oratorical contests, and showing great promise as a football player. He also got his first taste of acting in the title role of Shakespeare's Othello. In his senior year he not only graduated with honors, but placed first in a competitive examination for scholarships to enter Rutgers University. Although his other male siblings chose all-black colleges, Robeson took the challenge of attending Rutgers, a majority white institution in 1915.
In college between 1915 to 1919, Robeson experienced both fame and racism. In trying out for the varsity football team, where blacks were not wanted, he encountered physical brutality. In spite of this resistance, Robeson not only earned a place on the team but was named first on the roster for the All-American college team.

He graduated with 15 letters in sports. Academically he was equally successful, elected a member of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Society and the Cap and Skull Honor Society of Rutgers. Graduating in 1919 with the highest grade point average in his class, Robeson gave the class oration at the 153d Rutgers Commencement.
With college life behind him, Robeson moved to the Harlem section of New York City to attend law school, first at New York University, later transferring to Columbia University. He sang in the chorus of the musical Shuffle Along (1921) by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, and made his acting debut in 1920 playing the lead role in Simon the Cyrenian by poet Ridgely Torrence. Robeson's performance was so well received that he was congratulated not only by the Harlem YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) audience but also by members of the Provincetown Players who were in the audience. While working odd jobs and taking part in professional football to earn his college fees, Robeson met Eslanda "Essie" Cardozo Goode. The granddaughter of Francis L. Cardozo, the secretary of state of South Carolina during Reconstruction, she was a graduate of Columbia University and employed as a histological chemist. She was the first black staff person at Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. The couple married on August 17, 1921, and their son Paul Jr. was born on November 2, 1927.
To support his family while studying at Columbia Law School, Robeson played professional football for the Akron Pros (1920--1921) and the Milwaukee Badgers (1921--1922), and during the summer of 1922 he went to England to appear in a production of Taboo, which was renamed Voodoo. Once graduating from Columbia in 1923, Robeson sought work in his new profession, all the while singing at the famed Cotton Club in Harlem. Offered an acting role in 1923 in Eugene O'Neill's All God's Chillun Got Wings, Robeson quickly took this opportunity; he had recently quit a law firm because the secretary refused to take dictation from a black person.

Although All God's Chillun brought threats by the Ku Klux Klan because of the play's interracial subject matter and the fact that a white woman was to kiss Robeson's hand, it was an immediate success. It was followed in 1924 by his performances in a revival of The Emperor Jones, the play Rosanne, and the silent movie Body and Soul for Oscar Micheaux, an independent black film maker. In 1925 Robeson debuted in a formal concert at the Provincetown Playhouse. His performance which consisted of Negro spirituals and folk songs was so brilliant that he and his accompanist, Lawrence Brown, were offered a contract with the Victor Talking Machine Company. Encouraged by this success, Robeson and Brown embarked on a tour of their own, but were sorely disappointed. Even though they received good reviews, the crowds were small and they made very little money. What Robeson came to know was that his talents in acting and singing would serve as the combined focus of his career.
Robeson returned to New York briefly in 1933 to star in the film version of Emperor Jones before turning his attention to the study of singing and languages. His stay in the United States was a short one due to his treatment by the racist American film industries and because of criticism by blacks regarding his role as a corrupt emperor. Upon returning to England, Robeson eagerly immersed himself in his studies and mastered several languages. Robeson along with Essie became an honorary members of the West African Students' Union, becoming acquainted with African students Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta, future presidents of Ghana and Kenya, respectively. It is also during this time that Robeson played at a benefit for Jewish refugees which marked the beginning of his political awareness and activism.
Robeson's inclination to aid the less fortunate and the oppressed in their fight for freedom and equality was firmly rooted in his own family history. His father William Drew Robeson was an escaped slave who eventually graduated from Lincoln College in 1878, and his maternal grandfather, Cyrus Bustill, was a slave who was freed by his second owner in 1769 and went on to become an active member of the African Free Society. Recognizing the heritage that brought him so many opportunities, Robeson, between 1934 and 1937 performed in several films that presented blacks in other than stereotypical ways. He acted in such films as Sanders of the River (1935), King Solomon's Mines (1937) and Song of Freedom (1937).

On a trip to the Soviet Union in 1934 to discuss the making of the film Black Majesty, Robeson not only had discussions with the Soviet film director Sergei Eisenstein during his trip but was so impressed regarding the education against racism for schoolchildren that he began to study Marxism and Socialist systems in the Soviet Union. He also decided to send his son, nine-year-old Paul Jr., to school in the Soviet Union so that he would not have to contend with the racism and discrimination Robeson confronted in both Europe and America.

[SIZE=-1][SIZE=+1]Patricia Bath [/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Patricia Bath became the first African American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]Dr. Patricia Bath, an ophthalmologist from New York, but living in Los Angeles when she received her patent, became the first African American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention. Patricia Bath's patent (no. 4,744,360), a method for removing cataract lenses, transformed eye surgery, using a laser device making the procedure more accurate.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Patricia Bath’s passionate dedication to the treatment and prevention of blindness led her to develop the Cataract Laserphaco Probe. The probe, patented in 1988, is designed to use the power of a laser to quickly and painlessly vaporize cataracts from patients’ eyes, replacing the more common method of using a grinding, drill-like device to remove the afflictions. With another invention, Bath was able to restore sight to people who had been blind for over 30 years. Patricia Bath also holds patents for her invention in Japan, Canada, and Europe.[/SIZE] [SIZE=-1]Patricia Bath graduated from the Howard University School of Medicine in 1968 and completed specialty training in ophthalmology and corneal transplant at both New York University and Columbia University. In 1975, Bath became the first African-American woman surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center and the first woman to be on the faculty of the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute. She is the founder and first president of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness. Patricia Bath was elected to Hunter College Hall of Fame in 1988 and elected as Howard University Pioneer in Academic Medicine in 1993.[/SIZE]

Rufus Stokes patented an air-purification device.

Rufus Stokes was an inventor born in Alabama in 1924. He later moved to Illinois, where he worked as a machinist for an incinerator company.
In 1968, Rufus Stokes was granted a patent on an air-purification device to reduce the gas and ash emissions of furnace and powerplant smokestack emissions. The filtered output from the stacks became almost transparent. Stokes tested and demonstrated several models of stack filters, termed the "clean air machine", in Chicago and elsewhere to show its versatility.
Benefits of Rufus Stokes' Invention

The system benefited the respiratory health of people, but also eased the health risks to plants and animals. A side-effect of reduced industrial stack emissions was the improved appearance and durability of buildings, cars, and objects exposed to outdoor pollution for lengthy periods.

In 1982, Rufus Stokes was granted a doctor of science degree from Heed University in Hollywood, Florida on account of his scientific achievements. In 1985, he moved to Claremont, California where he died of mesothelioma in 1986. Ironically, his death coincided with his being brought on as a consultant to the Los Angeles Hyperian Waste Water Treatment facility.
Stokes' inventions led to a direct improvement to air quality, but more importantly, brought attention to the idea that scientists could work to reduce pollution and harmful gases in the atmosphere. Notably, he has been honored with inclusion in the United States Department of Energy's (DOE) list of "Energy Pioneers".


Obituary: Carl Maxie Brashear / Navy's first black deep sea diver
Jan. 19, 1931 - July 25, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
By Jocelyn Y. Stewart, Los Angeles Times

After enduring death threats from white shipmates and efforts by Navy officers to sabotage his final exam in diving school, Carl Maxie Brashear emerged as the Navy's first black deep sea diver.
So he had no intention of giving up that hard-won position in 1966, after injuries suffered while recovering a bomb from the ocean left him an amputee.
In the months after the accident, Mr. Brashear put himself through grueling physical training, and held fast to an attitude, learned from his father, that worked in the face of racism as well as disability.
"It's not a sin to be knocked down," Mr. Brashear told the Salt Lake Tribune in 2002. "It's a sin to stay down."
Mr. Brashear went on to become the first black master diver in the U.S. Navy, and the first amputee to be restored to full active duty as a diver. Mr. Brashear, whose story was told in the 2000 film "Men of Honor," died of respiratory and heart failure Tuesday at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va. He was 75.

"The movie could well have been called "Man of Courage," said Paul Stillwell, former director of the history division of the U.S. Naval Institute at Annapolis, Md. "The amount of determination and persistence he had and the pain that he put up with was amazing."
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr., who played Brashear in the movie, called him, "the strongest man I have ever met."
"He is a symbol of inspiration ... a true example of greatness not only to the African-American community but to any race today that aims to achieve in the military," Mr. Gooding told the Los Angeles Times.
Mr. Brashear's story began in 1948, the year the U.S. armed forces were ordered integrated by President Harry Truman. Mr. Brashear, the sixth of his parents nine children, was a 17-year-old son of a sharecropper from Sonora, Ky. He enlisted in the Navy and, always drawn to a challenge, set his sights on becoming a diver. That the Navy had no black divers did not stop him from trying.

By law, the Navy's doors were open to blacks, but in reality Jim Crow was firmly entrenched in the service. Even though some black men had been commissioned as officers during World War II, early post-war integration mostly meant black men cooking for white men and cleaning ships. Diving, an elite undertaking, was, in the minds of most, reserved for whites.
After several attempts Mr. Brashear was finally allowed into diving school in Bayonne, N.J. Mr. Brashear, who entered the Navy with a seventh grade education, not only had to master the physical requirements of diving but the science behind working in deep water.
"The big obstacle was the attitudes of his classmates, some of whom did not want a black sailor in their presence and issued threats," said Mr. Stillwell, who interviewed Mr. Brashear for a Naval Institute oral history. Notes were left on his bunk, threatening to drown him.
But in the midst of the hostility there was an island of support, Mr. Stillwell, said of a few who encouraged Mr. Brashear to continue. " 'Those notes are not hurting you. Show you them you're a better man than they are'," Mr. Stillwell said recounting one man's words of support to Mr. Brashear.

In 1953, after Mr. Brashear succeeded in becoming the first black diver, he set about to achieve even greater heights as a master diver, the highest level in the Navy diving hierarchy obtained by special training and an examination process. In 1966 he was well on his way to achieving that goal when two U.S. Air Force planes collided off the coast of Spain, and a nuclear weapon fell into the water.
The salvage ship USS Hoist, to which Mr. Brashear was assigned, was sent to retrieve the weapon. A large pipe being used in the attempt to lift the bomb "came loose, flew across the deck, and it struck my leg below the knee," Mr. Brashear told Mr. Stillwell. By the time he arrived at a hospital hours later, doctors thought he was dead. He was about to be sent to the morgue when one doctor found a faint pulse. Mr. Brashear recovered but the injuries were severe, eventually a portion of his left leg was amputated.

Such an injury guaranteed retirement, but Mr. Brashear still wanted to dive. He refused to appear at a hearing where he would be evaluated and found unfit for duty. Instead he set out to prove he could dive with his prothesis limb. Eventually, he was allowed to return to duty, the first time in the Navy's history an amputee was allowed to do so. Four years after the accident he achieved his goal of becoming a master diver. In 1979, Brashear retired from the Navy as a Master Chief Petty Officer.
Question: Is Black History Month a celebration of Black American history? Or is it universal?
Congratulations and remembrance to all the African Americans who advanced their race with leaps and bounds and also progressed with their fellow Americans.
Question: Is Black History Month a celebration of Black American history? Or is it universal?
Probably, but most of us don't even know what most of the blacks overseas did back in the day.
The entire concept of Black History Month is stupid. These people should be remembered year round for there contribution, not just in a single month. The idea seems to me as if it was thought up by a bunch of rich white guys as a way to placate the black population.

You are missing the point. BHM is to highlight, not confine, a segment of the population who's contributions were perpetually overlooked and underappreciated for centuries.

Nice work on this thread, Memphis Slim. I clicked on it thinking it would be just another "talk about it" thread but you have put in some real work here. Bravo.
Dr. Benjamin Solomon Carson (born September 18, 1951) is a noted American neurosurgeon. He became the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital when he was 33 years old. :wow:

Carson was born in inner city Detroit, Michigan, and has one younger brother Curtis. His mother Sonya Carson had high expectations for her sons despite her third grade education and the fact she married at the age of thirteen. Benjamin's parents divorced when he was eight years old.
Sonya was determined to turn around her sons' lives. She limited their television viewing and only let them play outside when all of their school work was done. She also made them read two books a week and then write book reports on what they had read, even though she couldn't understand most of it due to her poor education.

One day when Carson's teacher brought in a sample rock, Benjamin recognized it and amazed his classmates, causing them to realize that he wasn't as dumb as they once believed. In a year's time he was the star pupil of his class. With his newfound thirst for knowledge he studied hard in all subjects. Carson later developed an interest in psychology, and he graduated from high school with honors.

Carson then attended Yale University where he earned a degree in Psychology. From there he went to the University of Michigan Medical School. There, his interest shifted from psychology to neurosurgery, and after medical school he went to work at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. At age 33, he became the hospital's Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery.

In 1987, Carson made medical history with an operation to separate a pair of Siamese twins. The Binder twins were joined at the back of the head. Previous operations had failed, kill both twins or only saving one. After 22 hours of surgery with a staff of seventy on hand, Carson's operation was successful.

In 1997, he traveled to South Africa where he led a 50-member team in the successful separation of 11-month-old Zambian twin boys, Joseph and Luka Banda, joined at the head. The twins did not share any organs but did share intricate blood vessels which flowed into each child's brain. According to Carson, he had performed surgical rehearsals with a computerized, 3-D virtual workbench that allowed him to visualize artificial reconstructions of the twins' brains. The operation lasted 22 hours before successfully concluding.

In June 2002, Carson was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of prostate cancer. Six weeks later he underwent successful surgery to remove the cancer. He took an active role in the medical and recovery process, asking his medical team questions and examining his own X-rays and scans. Since the surgery there have been no complications, and he did not need to undergo chemotherapy or other radiation treatment.
In 2003, Carson was a member of the surgical team which worked to separate conjoined siblings Ladan and Laleh Bijani. When they asked why he had performed such a risky surgery, he said that he had heard them say that they would rather die than stay conjoined.

Carson has received numerous honors and awards including more than 40 honorary doctorate degrees. He is a member of the American Academy of Achievement, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, and many other prestigious organizations. He sits on many boards including the Board of Directors of Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corporation, Yale Corporation (the governing body of Yale University), and America's Promise. He is also the president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. Carson did a cameo in the 2003 movie Stuck on You (starring Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear) where he dons a surgeon mask to separate the conjoined twins.
Carson was appointed to the President's Council on Bioethics by George W. Bush in 2004.

In addition to being a surgeon, Carson is also a writer who has authored three bestsellers: Gifted Hands, The Big Picture, and Think Big. The first book is an autobiography, and the latter two are about his personal philosophies of success that incorporate hard work and a faith in God. Ben Carson is a Seventh-day Adventist, and an outspoken Christian.
Carson has been married to Candy Carson for twenty-five years and has three sons. He also has a middle school named after him, Benjamin S. Carson Honors Preparatory Middle School.

For the 2006 PBS program African American Lives, Carson, along with other notable African Americans such as Oprah Winfrey and comedian Chris Tucker, had his DNA tested to discover his original African ancestry. The genetic test determined that some of his ancestors originated from the Lunda ethnic group, who are currently located in Angola, Congo, and Zambia.
Dr. Carson has also had success with Trigeminal neuralgia. Using Radio frequency and Glycerine Rhizotomy he has saved many lives from this painful disease noted as "the suicide disease" due to the level of pain.

That's my boy :up::up::up:

His autobiography is good. :up:

Gifted Hands FTW!
You are missing the point. BHM is to highlight, not confine, a segment of the population who's contributions were perpetually overlooked and underappreciated for centuries.

Nice work on this thread, Memphis Slim. I clicked on it thinking it would be just another "talk about it" thread but you have put in some real work here. Bravo.

Thank you. It's all about education.
Lonnie Johnson (inventor)

Lonnie Johnson (born October 6, 1949) is best known as the inventor of the Super Soaker water gun. The top selling toy in the United States in 1991 and 1992, over 40 million Super Soakers have generated over $200 million in sales since 1990. Today, many websites are devoted to them.
Johnson is president and founder of Johnson Research and Development Co., Inc., a technology development company, and its spin off companies, Excellatron Solid State, LLC; Johnson Electro-Mechanical Systems, LLC; and Johnson Real Estate Investments, LLC.
Articles on Lonnie Johnson have appeared in numerous publications including Time Magazine, the New York Times, and Inventor’s Digest. Johnson serves on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Alliance for Children, an organization which serves as an informed and influential voice to protect the rights and interests of Georgia’s less fortunate children. He is a Board member of the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Commonwealth National Bank.
In his hometown of Marietta, Georgia, February 25, 1994 was declared "Lonnie G. Johnson Day" in his honor.


Johnson graduated from Williamson High School In Mobile, Alabama, holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering, an M.S. degree in Nuclear Engineering, and an honorary Ph.D. in Science from Tuskegee University.

[edit] US Air Force days

Upon graduation, he worked as a research engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and then joined the U. S. Air Force, serving as Acting Chief of the Space Nuclear Power Safety Section at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In 1979, he left the Air Force to accept a position as Senior Systems Engineer at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where he worked on the Galileo mission to Jupiter.
Returning to the Air Force in 1982, he served as an Advanced Space Systems Requirements Officer at Strategic Air Command (SAC) headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, and as Chief of the Data Management Branch, SAC Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal on two different occasions.
In 1987, he returned to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he worked on the Mars Observer project and was the fault protection engineer during the early stages of the Cassini (Saturn) project. He was responsible for ensuring that single point spacecraft failures would not result in loss of the mission. During his nine year career with JPL, he received multiple achievement awards from NASA for his work in spacecraft system design.

[edit] Engineering firms

In 1989, Johnson formed his own engineering firm and licensed his most famous invention, the Super Soaker water gun, to Larami Corporation. Two years later, the Super Soaker generated over $200 million in retail sales, and became the number one selling toy in America. Larami Corporation was eventually purchased by Hasbro, the second largest toy manufacturer in the world. Over the years, Super Soaker sales have totaled close to one billion dollars. Currently, Lonnie Johnson holds over 80 patents, with over 20 more pending, and is the author of several publications on spacecraft power systems.

Energy technology

Two of Johnson’s companies, Excellatron Solid State and Johnson Electro-Mechanical Systems (JEMS), are developing energy technology.


Excellatron is introducing a new generation of rechargeable battery technology which has significantly better abilities than the current industry leader Li-ion.


JEMS has developed a thermodynamic energy conversion technology that converts thermal energy to electrical energy with significant advantages over alternative systems.

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