The myth is that Africans were brought to America as slaves to toil in the cotton fields and remained deprived of any knowledge. It is widely believed that Blacks became civilized with the benefit of European education. However, if one reads African history correctly then one would realize that Africa was a land where its indigenous people had very advance technologies. Then it should be of no surprise that many of the inventions, from the end of slavery to the present, were patented by African-Americans.

First you must understand that certain African peoples were targeted due to their expertise in particular trades and technology. For example the Mande were taken from the Sierra Leone region of West Africa to South Carolina because of their rice cultivation expertise. That region’s climate like South Carolina was ideal for rice cultivation. Indeed, it is not hard to imagine that people who knew of building structural engineering were specifically targeted also. The cause of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was the crusades against the Moors who were pursued into Africa and captured and enslaved, as ordered by the Pope. The Moors, who controlled the Iberian Peninsula (Spain & Portugal), had brought to the Europeans advanced technology, science, mathematics, medicine and hygienic practices which are in use today in our everyday life. The reality is the enslavement of Africans is because Europeans had knowledge of their technology, thus using the enslaved to produce a civilization of technological advancement.

There are various highly advance ancient structures on the African continent. These ancient structures have been found in different parts of the world and have attributed to these same African people. There are not only pyramids in Egypt but in other places in other parts of Africa (Nubia modern day Sudan), Europe (Bosnia), Asia (Japan) and the Americas (Mexico & the US). The Nazis during WWII, did massive archeological excavations in and around the Egyptian pyramids. They uncovered much information on ancient advanced technology that was incorporated in their weapons program. This was the premise highlighted in movies such the first “Raiders Of The Lost Ark.” After the war Nazi scientist were used by both the US and the Soviet Union to produce their missile and space programs.

The discovery of aerial dynamic model planes found near the pyramids suggest that the Ancient Egyptians understood flight. There is a 3,000 year-old temple where there are carved in stone, pictures that resemble modern air, surface and underwater crafts.

There is evidence also that Africans had advanced knowledge of the heavens. Not only are the pyramids aligned with the Sirius star system, there are ancient observatories which predate the pyramids that are located in the Nubia dessert that was the subject of the book, “Black Genesis: The Prehistoric Origins of Ancient Egypt” by Robert Bauval and David Brophy.   Other ancient observatories such as Stonehenge in the UK are part of the same structural design and now believed to have been the work of Ancient Black populations that predated the modern European.

The Dogon people of Mali are known for their complex cosmology and have been identified as descendants of the Ancient Egyptians. Benjamin Banneker a contemporary of George Washington and the “Founding Fathers” has been reputed to be a descendant of these African people. Banneker the inventor of the first American clock, corrected much of the scientific knowledge the Europeans held with the knowledge that was passed down through his father and grandfather. He is also credited with designing Washington, DC. Blacks during slavery built plantation owners” mansions and also the buildings such as the Whitehouse and Capitol Building in Washington, DC. They did not learn this in trade school. They had knowledge that was inherited from their Ancestors.

Slave were not allowed to hold patents as their inventions were credited to their masters. But once slavery ended there was an explosion of inventions patented by African-Americans.

Many of inventions produced by African-Americans in the latter 19th century were related to the railroad industry at the time was in its infancy.   Elijah Mc Coy invented automatic coupling for rail cars, the oil lubricator (which makes oil lubricating engines possible today), among other inventions. He is the initial focus of the phrase, “the real McCoy.” Granville T. Woods also invented many of the devices such as the Electrical railroads systems still in used today in subway and other rail systems. He is also the inventor of the air brake.

Many of the inventions we enjoy today in our households have been invented by African-Americans. A shorten list includes: The folding chair, the elevator, the ironing board, the lawn mower, the air conditioner, the cell phone, the fountain pen, the hot comb, the refrigerator, the mailbox, pencil sharpener, the clothes dryer, and there are many more.

Inventions such as the telephone and the light bulb attributed to white men respectively, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Edison are linked by one African-American man named, Louis Howard Latimer, who was an employee of both men. He drew up the blueprint for the telephone and invented the filament to make the electric light bulb work. Jan Matzeliger invented the shoe making machine which created the modern shoe industry by allowing the mass production of shoes.   Garret Morgan made many of our lives safe by inventing the gas mask and the traffic signal.

The first African-American female millionaire was an inventor named Madam C.J. Walker. She made her millions as a pioneer in developing hair care products for Black women. One of her inventions is the straightening comb.   She also established training schools that produced other African-American women entrepreneurs.

Today there is still a rich legacy of African-American inventors with patents for advancing and cutting edge technologies in space exploration, weapon systems, computer electronics, medicine and other fields. Dr. Patricia Bath invented the laser eye surgery device that has helped millions with cataract problems to see clearly again. It is evident that much technological know how that is embedded in the DNA of the African–American from our Ancestors from the African continent who influenced technology in other parts of the world. In other words what we were in Africa we are in America. There are literally countless of technologically advanced structures in Africa such as the Great Walls of Zimbabwe, the Amhara (Ethiopia) churches that are carved out of rock, ancient mines in South Africa (also through out the continent), and ancient underground cities found under the Egyptian dessert. Ancient texts contain reports about the building of ancient canals and dams, delicate surgeries, movie projection, mechanical robotics, metallurgy, and even aerial and space travel. These have ben recently verified in the finding and re interpretation of ancient artifacts. Once believed to be mythology, thanks to the internet and programs such as the History Channel series ”Ancient Aliens,” the stories from ancient civilizations, especially on the African continent, are being re-examined as critical evidence to past truths long buried.

Unfortunately our perception of Africa has been shaped by a media that has always portrayed Africans as backwards uncivilized or primitive while showing only rural people while ignoring the fact that these people are descendent from people who have built great ancient cities. and empires. Even modern African major cities rival New York, Paris, London and other major cities in the rest of the so-called industrial nations.

In one of his many documentary videos, the late Basil Davidson, an Englishman and African Historian, stood in what appeared to be a modern apartment that had running water and an inside toilet in east Africa. It turned out however, according to Davidson, was in fact, if I’m not mistaken 2,000 years old!

Books to read on the many contributions that Africa has given to modern society are AFRICA’S GIFTS TO AMERICA by J.A. Rodgers and BLACKS IN SCIENCE edited by the late Dr. Ivan Van Sertima

Therefore, the boosting of advancement in technology produced in the US as “American ingenuity“ is actually a legacy of Africa!

An original article by

 Halim Mustafa Al-Kanemi,

NEW AFRICA RISES  Chief Editor and founder/ director of NEW AFRICAN HERITAGE SOCIETY