Skip to main content

Black History Month: Scientists

Provides information about Black History Month and some notable African Americans from throughout history.

George Washington Carver

Photograph of George Washington Carver

This photograph of George Washington Carver was taken circa 1910.

Photograph of George Washington Carver

This photograph of George Washington Carver was taken circa 1942 and is maintained by the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Photograph of George Washington Carver working in his lab

This photograph of George Washington Carver shows him working diligently in his lab.

Why are they important?

Often remembered for his numerous uses of the peanut, George Washington Carver was the most prominent black scientist of the early 1900s. He was an environmentalist who studied ways to prevent soil depletion from years of growing cotton. Carver also encouraged farmers to grow crops such as peanuts and sweet potatoes to help them create their own food supply.

Books from our Collection

Click on the title of each book to be taken to our catalog where you can place a hold with your library card.

Listen to this interview with George Washington Carver from the radio program "Strange as it Seems"

Additional Resources

Check out the following websites for more information about George Washington Carver:

  • Virtual Museum Exhibit
    This virtual exhibit managed by the National Park Service gives information about George Washington Carver's life and provides photographs of artifacts that can be found in the George Washington Carver Museum.
  • ThoughtCo.
    Provides a list of "Fast Facts" about George Washington Carver as well as a more in-depth biography.
  • Biography
    An overview of the life and major accomplishments of George Washington Carver, including a video and links to further reading.
  • America's Library
    A series of stories about George Washington Carver written by the Library of Congress for young audiences.

Katherine Johnson

Photograph of Katherine Johnson smiling while working

This photograph shows Katherine Johnson working at NASA in 1966.

Photograph of Katherine Johnson standing next to a computer

This photograph shows Katherine Johnson using a computer at the NASA Langley Research Center in 1980.

Photograph of Katherine Johnson in a wheelchair wearing the Presidential Medal of Freedom

This photograph shows Katherine Johnson receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her contributions to NASA on November 24, 2015.

Why are they important?

Katherine Johnson was a mathematician who worked as a computer for NASA. Her calculations were an important part of America's early space missions, including the mission of John Glenn, the first American in orbit. 

Books from our Collection

Click on the title of each book to be taken to our catalog where you can place a hold with your library card.

Watch an interview with Katherine Johnson

Watch more videos from NASA about Katherine Johnson.

Additional Resources

Check out the following websites for more information about Katherine Johnson:

  • Biography
    An overview of Katherine Johnson's life and accomplishments which includes quick facts, famous quotes, and photos.
  • Britannica Kids
    Provides biographical information about Katherine Johnson written for various audiences.
  • NASA
    Provides biographical information about Katherine Johnson written for grades K-4. NASA also provides biographical information written for grades 5-8.

Mae Jemison

This photograph is the official portrait of Mae Jemison from July 1992.

Photograph of Mae Jemison in a lab coat turning knobs

This photograph shows Mae Jemison working at the Kennedy Space Center in January 1992.

Photograph of Mae Jemison floating inside a space shuttle

This photograph shows Mae Jemison floating in zero gravity during STS-47 in September 1992.

Why are they important?

Mae Jemison became the first black woman to travel into space in 1992 when she participated in NASA's STS-47 mission. Prior to becoming an astronaut, Jemison earned degrees in chemical engineering, African/African American studies, and medicine. She served as a doctor in the Peace Corps for two years in Liberia. After her space mission with NASA, Jemison founded a technology research company and a non-profit educational foundation.

Books from our Collection

Click on the title of each book to be taken to our catalog where you can place a hold with your library card.

Watch Mae Jemison talk about her experiences

Additional Resources

Check out the following websites for more information about Mae Jemison:

  • Dr. Mae Jemison
    Read Mae Jemison's biography listed on her website and learn more about her current work.
  • Twitter
    Connect with Mae Jemison on social media. Learn about what she is doing now and her plans for the future.
  • Biography
    Provides an overview of Mae Jemison's life and accomplishments and includes quick facts, famous quotes, photos, and videos.