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Top Not So Secrets Series: 5 Black People You've Never Heard of That Are Pioneers of Greatness

Life is always a little more difficult when you are a passive learner. It's important to be intentional about what we want to know. If I'm being completely transparent, most times we don't know what we don't know and that's why it's important to read what we come across but more than that, we must question more, ask more questions and get comfortable seeking knowledge. It's amazing who you become when you become more open to learning.


Throughout Black History Month and beyond, I'll be highlighting Black Greatness that you may or may not have heard of before. There are amazing Black Historic moments that happened on screens, on games and on recognized stages; however, there are so many more hidden in plain site, but that stops now with this series of "Black is Beautiful, Top NOT SO SECRETS About Black Greatness". Black people are strong, athletic, talented and funny; however, we are smart, intelligent, thoughtful and innovative. That's not always the story that is told, so why not write your own or learn the story that's not being shared.


I don't mean to be overly dramatic. But ask yourself, how many brilliant Black people have I learned about regularly in school outside of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Madam C.J. Walker, Langston Hughes, Thurgood Marshall, Harriet Tubman & others? How many Black people have I learned about that weren't on television, in movies or playing a sport? Sometimes, if we haven't learned about people, their true worth and their contributions, we don't find them worthy. Whether that last sentence is you or not, this is an amazing time to learn about some new names that haven't been on everyone's radar. This would be an amazing time to share with your kids if you have them. I mean why not?! Below you'll see specific names and what they've accomplished. I dive a little bit deeper into some of these on my, "Our Differences Shouldn't Divide Us" virtual speaking tour that kicked off last month and goes until the end of March.


Please comment if you've known or learned about any of the people mentioned below. Also, feel free to share with us other Black pioneers that you've learned about before.




Dr. Shirley Jackson

(1946 - Present)

  • Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973.

  • First African-American woman to earn a doctorate in nuclear physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Developed touch-tone telephone, the portable fax, caller ID, call waiting,the fiber-optic cable, and much more in the telecommunication field.


Otis Boykin (1920-1982)

  • Improved the circuit in pacemakers.

  • Developed the IBM computer, chemical air filters, burglar-proof cash register, and electronic resistor used in missiles.



Lonnie G. Johnson

(1949 - Present)

  • Aerospace Engineer.

  • Previously an Aerospace Engineer for NASA.

  • Inventor of the Super Soaker water gun.


Marian R. Croak (1955 - Present)

  • Inducted into Women in Technology International’s hall of fame in 2013.

  • Senior Vice President of AT&T.

  • Has over 135 patents primarily in Voice-Over Internet Protocol.


Mary Van Brittan Brown (1922-1999)

  • Co-Inventor of the Home Security System. Developed due to feeling unsafe in her home in Queens, NY. Police were believed to be unreliable and unresponsive during that time.

  • Received her patent in 1969.




Whoa! I literally had no idea about a few of those. It was amazing to learn more about pioneers. Sometimes, we look at things or products and wonder where they came from. For some, we don't have to wonder anymore. You know what's crazy, when I found out who created the Super Soaker, it never even hit me that he may have done something else and THEN, I find out he was a FREAKING Aerospace Engineer for NASA! hahaha Learning really has become more fun. It is ABSOLUTELY humbling, but it is fun.


If you'd like to know more about the "Our Differences Shouldn't Divide Us, Virtual Speaking Tour CLICK HERE.


I hope you all enjoyed learning a little bit with me and keep your eyes open for a few more of these throughout the month. Thank you for taking the time to learn and grow. Life becomes so much better when we learn together and do our best to respect and appreciate what we do not always understand. Sometimes, I think it's "a grand masterplan" to keep us all divided. The more we learn and have conversations, even the difficult kind, the more we move towards empathy, equity and better versions of ourselves.


Effort on Fire, Beats Knowledge on Ice


Stan Pearson II, MBA

Celebrity Mindset Consultant, Award Winning Speaker & Founder of Breathe Diversity, LLC

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