Blacks In Science
Transitional Education and Consulting Services
Blacks In Science
For centuries, excellence in science and technology has been part of an African heritage. There are men of influence, however, who have held different and damaging opinions:
"I am apt to suspect the negroes and in general all other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. . .Not to mention our colonies, there are Negroe slaves dispersed all over Europe, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity, tho' low people, without education, will start up amonst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In JAMAICA indeed they talk of one negroe as a man of parts and learning; but 'tis likely he is admired for very slender accomplishments like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly."
- Of National Characters by David Hume (1753)
The contributions of Africans and African-Americans to science and technology have been minimized or ignored by influential figures in history from David Hume, the influential Scottish philosopher, to Thomas Jefferson. The future of any culture or society ultimately rests on what it creates and builds and not merely on what it sells, services, sings or plays. The ability to conceptualize, to think abstractly, to generalize and discover is shared by all ethnic and racial groups. Mathematics, science, and technology will be at the core of any nation's competitive edge in the 21st century. Regardless of ancestry, gender, age, physical ability, or sexual orientation, we can learn and contribute to the technological continuum. Setting the record straight is part of the process of encouraging greater participation in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology.