Charles Richard Drew

Illustration of Drew by Charles Alston in the collection of the National Archives

Charles Richard Drew (3 June 1904 – 1 April 1950) was an American physician, surgeon and medical researcher. He researched in the field of blood transfusions, developing improved techniques for blood storage, and applied his expert knowledge to developing large-scale blood banks early in World War II. This allowed medics to save thousands of lives of the Allied forces.

The research and development aspect of his blood storage work is disputed. As the most prominent African-American in the field, Drew protested against the practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood, as it lacked scientific foundation, an action which cost him his job. In 1943, Drew’s distinction in his profession was recognized when he became the first black surgeon selected to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.

Drew’s athletic achievements helped win him a scholarship to Amherst College in Massachusetts and he graduated in 1926. An outstanding athlete at Amherst, Drew also joined Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Continue reading

Lloyd Augustus Hall

Lloyd August Hall

Lloyd August Hall

Born: June 20, 1894
Died: January 2, 1971
Birthplace: Elgin, Illinois
Occupation: Chemist and Inventor

Lloyd August Hall received his Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in 1914, a Master of Science from Northwestern in 1916, and a Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) from Virginia State College in 1944. Dr. Hall has served as junior and senior Sanitary Chemist of the Department of Health laboratories for the city of Chicago, Illinois from 1915 to 1919. He also served as chief chemist for John Morrel and Company of Ottuma, Illinois (1919-1921). He was President of the Chemical Products Corporation, Chicago from 1921 to 1924. Dr. Hall served as Consultant for Griffith’s Laboratories from 1925 to 1929, later as Technical Director and Chief Chemist of Griffith’s Laboratories in Chicago, Illinois from 1929 to 1946. From 1946 to 1959 Lloyd hall served as Technical Director.  Continue reading

William B. Purvis

Improved Fountain Pen - patent #419,065 1/7/1890

William Purvis of Philadelphia invented and patented improvements to the fountain pen in 1890. William Purvis made several improvements to the fountain pen in order to make a “more durable, inexpensive, and better pen to carry in the pocket.”

Purvis used an elastic tube between the pen nib and the ink reservoir that used a suction action to return any excess ink to the ink reservoir, reducing ink spills and increasing the longevity of the ink. Fountain pens were first patented as early as 1809.

William Purvis - Bag fastener

Bag fastener - patent #256,856 4/25/1882

William Purvis also invented several other inventions including two machines for making paper bags (which Purvis sold to the Union Paper Bag Company of New York), a bag fastener, a self-inking hand stamp, and several devices for electric railroads. His first paper bag machine (patent #293,353) created satchel bottom type bags in an improved volume and greater automation than previous machines.  Continue reading

Daniel McCree

Chicago inventor Daniel McCree invented a portable fire escape that was designed for the interior of buildings.

McCree’s fire escape could roll and had a carriage that could be raised and lowered.

It was intended to be part of a building’s own fire prevention equipment and stored on location.

D. McCree  improved on the fire-escape used in bigger buildings and created a portable wooden fire escape  that could be attached to a home

McCree patented his portable fire escape on November 11, 1890 and it is the basis for models used today.

(U. S. Patent # 440,322 )

Portable Fire Escape by Daniel McCree

 

Yvonne Braithwaite Burk

Yvonne Brathwaite Burke

Image courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration

Representative, 1973-1979, Democrat from California

Yvonne Brathwaite Burke was a rising star in California and national politics years before she won a seat in the U.S. House. In 1966, she became the first African-American woman elected to the California assembly. At the 1972 Democratic National Convention she served as vice chair of the platform committee, gaining national television exposure. That same year she became the first black woman from California (and one of only three black women ever) elected to the House.

Her meteoric career continued with a prime appointment to the Appropriations Committee and her election as the first woman chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). But Burke’s most notable distinction in the eyes of much of the public occurred in 1973, when she became the first Congresswoman to give birth and be granted maternity leave while serving in Congress.  Continue reading

University of Tennessee

University of Tennessee

The most significant event in the college’s history, however, was not military but political: the passage of the Morrill Act by Congress in 1862 providing for the granting of federally owned lands to states that would establish public agricultural and mechanical colleges.

East Tennessee University was designated in 1869 by the state legislature as the land-grant institution of the state and thereby the recipient of the proceeds of the properties allocated by law to Tennessee. The value of the real estate involved was almost $400,000, providing a boon to the college’s fortunes.  Continue reading

Doris ‘Dorie’ Miller

Dorie Miller

Dorie Miller

Doris Miller, known as “Dorie” to shipmates and friends, was born in Waco, Texas, on 12 October 1919, to Henrietta and Conery Miller. He had three brothers, one of which served in the Army during World War II. While attending Moore High School in Waco, he was a fullback on the football team.

He worked on his father’s farm before enlisting in the U.S Navy as Mess Attendant, Third Class, at Dallas, Texas, on 16 September 1939, to travel, and earn money for his family. He later was commended by the Secretary of the Navy, was advanced to Mess Attendant, Second Class and First Class, and subsequently was promoted to Ship’s Cook, Third Class.

Following training at the Naval Training Station, Norfolk, Virginia, Miller was assigned to the ammunition ship USS Pyro (AE-1) where he served as a Mess Attendant, and on 2 January 1940 was transferred to USS West Virginia (BB-48), where he became the ship’s heavyweight boxing champion. In July of that year he had temporary duty aboard USS Nevada (BB-36) at Secondary Battery Gunnery School.  Continue reading

Geraldine McCullough

Geraldine McCullough

Renowned sculptor and painter Geraldine McCollough was born Geraldine Hamilton on December 1, 1917 in Kingston, Arkansas, and raised in Chicago from the time she was three years old. McCullough attended the Art Institute of Chicago for undergraduate and graduate studies, receiving her B.A. degree in 1948 and her M.A. degree in art education in 1955. As a student, she earned a John D. Standecker Scholarship, a Memorial Scholarship and a Figure Painting Citation.

After completing her graduate studies, McCullough taught art at Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago. She also began exhibiting her paintings at various national galleries, receiving first prize in 1961 at the Art Exhibit of Atlanta University. Continue reading

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