Community Tech Network’s goal is to promote equitable access to technology and transform lives through digital literacy. Of course, we could not fulfill this mission without technology. For this year’s African American History Month, we are highlighting the accomplishments of Black tech leaders who have paved the way for the internet we know today.
In 1953, physicist and mathematician Katherine Johnson worked as a “human computer” at NASA. She completed essential calculations and even checked the accuracy of digital computers. Largely unknown at the time, Johnson represents a cohort of women who helped pioneer the STEM field in the mid-twentieth century.
Known as the “godfather of Silicon Valley, Roy Clay, Sr., set out to make computers accessible to more people. The prolific programmer and mathematician helped create HP’s first computers in 1966. He went on to launch his own company, ROD-L Electronics, and became the first African American councilman of Palo Alto, California, in 1973.
With a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in electrical engineering, Mark Dean is one of the most prominent black inventors in computer science. He was instrumental in creating IBM’s original personal computer in 1981 and the first color PC monitor. Dean became the first African American to be named an IBM fellow, which represents their highest level of technical expertise.
Marian Croak, featured in the picture, is a contemporary leader in technology, serving as the vice president of engineering at Google. A fierce advocate for women in technology, Croak holds over 100 patents in voice-over technology. Her groundbreaking research enables users to communicate through audio and video while using the internet. Without Croak’s work, our learners would not benefit from popular platforms like Zoom and Skype.
As CTN continues to increase digital literacy, it is important to look at the big picture and give praise to the remarkable technologists who created our digital world!