The Big Idea: 7 Groundbreaking Black Female Inventors

July 9, 2012 ‐ By Terri Williams

America is known for her spirit of inventiveness, and black women have been major contributors in our country’s history of ingenuity. From the resourcefulness of women who rose from the ashes of slavery to the brilliant creativity of modern day geniuses, our lives are immeasurably better because of these 7 sisters and their big ideas.

"Maire Van Brittan Brown"

photo courtesy of Today In African-American History

Marie Van Brittan Brown

Born in 1922, Marie Van Brittan Brown was the first person to develop the patent for closed circuit television security. Her mechanism consisted of a motorized camera and four peepholes. The camera could be moved from one peephole to the next, and the camera’s images were displayed on a monitor. The door could also be unlocked remotely using an electrical switch. Brown’s invention was patented in 1969, and became the framework for the modern closed circuit television system that is widely used for surveillance, crime prevention, and traffic monitoring.

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  • zaria595

    Have sex with me pleased

  • mdeborah827

    Wish Terry Williams would take a look at the story of Annie Malone, CJ Walker’s former boss who gave her the entire idea and profited from it first. Her life was full of ups and downs but CJ Walker DID NOT invent this process! She learned it on the job from ANNIE MALONE.

  • Me

    Insightful article! Kudos to the inventors and the author.

  • charlieshine

    This is so inspirational. Thank you for this article.

  • mnreader

    one of the best articles I’ve read here in a long long time. keep it coming! this is what should be taught to our children.

    • MsRonii


  • mnreader

    one of the best articles I’ve read here in a long long time. keep it coming! this is what should be taught to our children.

  • customcalendars4u2

    There is a Laundry list of Black Inventors both men and women for groundbreaking inventions
    just look it up! Sadly though neither them nor they’re descendants were fairly compensated. Black people as slaves have built this country on they’re backs literally so very often that encouraged them to find ingenious ways of making their work easier on them….

  • wlknluv

    Wow! I knew about Madame CJ Walker but I didn’t know about the other African-American inventors, truly awesome. We must know our history and pass it on to our children.

  • cookie

    typo proud of

  • cookie

    Wow did not know these things need to brush up more on my black history shoot the only thing highschool taught us about was Dr king and slavery im so proud if My African sisters girl power.

  • MedPassion

    Such an inspirational list. I need to get up and be more productive today. No excuses!!

  • Tisha

    This is wonderful and more people should kow about these groundbreaking pioneers.

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