Celebrating Black History Month

Written by
Jethro Jean-Baptiste

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As we approach the end of Black History Month, Insource would like to take the opportunity to recognize the stories, struggles, and obstacles that people of color are forced to go through, as well as the remarkable accomplishments they attain by doing so.

The recent mars mission highlights one such individual, Katherine Johnson. She was an American mathematician and subject of the recent Hollywood movie ‘Hidden Figures’ whose work with NASA was critical to the U.S. crewed space travel success.

Passing away on February 24, 2020, Ms. Johnson’s life was celebrated by millions who were inspired by her work. She was once an unheralded pioneer; she calculated the incredibly precise trajectories that would allow the Apollo 11 team to land and walk on the moon in 1969 and let it return to Earth.

Throughout her 33 years in NASA’s Flight Research Division and for decades afterward, Ms. Johnson’s achievements went largely uncelebrated. As one of the hundred rigorously educated and supremely capable women working at NASA, it is widely noted that she vastly enjoyed her work, even if it went unnoticed.

It was not only her sex that kept her efforts marginalized: Katherine Johnson began her scientific career in the age of Jim Crow, and as an African-American, faced racism both within the workplace and throughout her life.

Both during Black History Month and beyond, Insource is proud to pay homage to and champion the diversity that makes our society a better place. As such, we would also like to share a list of individuals, picked by Insource staff, who inspire us to trailblaze and to make our communities proud:

  • Inventor of the first color computer monitor at IBM, Mark Dean
  • Inventor of the three-light traffic light, Garret Morgan 
  • Inventor of the ultraviolet camera/spectrograph (Used in the launching of the Apollo 16 in 1972), George Caruthers
  • The inventor of the biscuit cutter (way back in 1875!), Alexander P. Ashbourne
  • Inventor of “Love Sharpener”, the first portable pencil sharpener, John Lee Love 
  • The first black player in the National Hockey League, ex-Boston Bruins winger Willie O’Ree
  • Inventor of the automated shoe machine, “the most important invention for New England” according to his church bulletin back in 1883, Jan Ernst Matzeliger

We hope that all of our colleagues, clients, and connections can celebrate the incredible achievements of Ms. Johnson and others like her safely and with respect. Let’s continue to build a community where we can continue to encourage and enlighten our children of the future to strive for these kinds of extraordinary accomplishments.