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- DescriptionAccording to the stereotype, late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century inventors, quintessential loners and supposed geniuses, worked in splendid isolation and then unveiled their discoveries to a marveling world. Most successful inventors of this era, however, developed their ideas within the framework of industrial organizations that supported them and their experiments. For African American inventors, negotiating these racially stratified professional environments meant t only working on invative designs but also breaking barriers. In this pathbreaking study, Rayvon Fouche examines the life and work of three African Americans: Granville Woods (1856-1910), an independent inventor; Lewis Latimer (1848-1928), a corporate engineer with General Electric; and Shelby Davidson (1868-1930), who worked in the U.S. Treasury Department. Detailing the difficulties and human frailties that make their achievements all the more impressive, Fouche explains how each man used invention for financial gain, as a claim on entering adversarial environments, and as a means to technical stature in a Jim Crow institutional setting. Describing how Woods, Latimer, and Davidson struggled to balance their complicated racial identities-as both black and white communities perceived them-with their hopes of being judged solely on the content of their inventive work, Fouche provides a nuanced view of African American contributions to-and relationships with-techlogy during a period of rapid industrialization and mounting national attention to the inequities of a separate-but-equal social order.
- Author BiographyRayvon Fouche is an assistant professor in the department of science and technology studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
- Author(s)Rayvon Fouche
- PublisherJohns Hopkins University Press
- Date of Publication28/10/2005
- SubjectInventions & Technology: General Interest
- Series TitleJohns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology
- Place of PublicationBaltimore, MD
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintJohns Hopkins University Press
- Content Note33, 33 black & white illustrations
- Weight358 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine13 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US)
- Interest AgeFrom 17
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