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Celebrating Black History Month: A Reflection from the IEEE DEI Committee

Black HistorY Month

As the calendar turns to February, the IEEE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee is excited to embark on a month dedicated to honoring and celebrating Black history. Black History Month in the United States serves as a poignant reminder of the significant contributions, struggles, and achievements of Black individuals throughout history.

Our committee recognizes the importance of fostering an inclusive environment that acknowledges the diverse experiences within our community. Black History Month provides a unique opportunity to highlight the rich tapestry of Black culture, shining a spotlight on the invaluable role Black individuals have played in shaping our society.

The DEI Committee has launched an African and Afro Descent Heritage space that will be providing different types of resources and serve as a place to learn and amplify the voices of this community. Through these efforts, we can not only reflect on the past but also actively engage in conversations and initiatives that contribute to a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

Spotlight: Lewis Howard Latimer, Electrical Pioneer and Inventor, a Seldom-Told History

Seldom told is the story of Lewis Howard Latimer, yet his name should be synonymous with the history of electric light. The self-taught son of fugitive slaves, Latimer’s career spans from exemplary service for the Union in the Civil War to drafting a patent for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, to working for the famous inventor Hiram Maxim. In addition, he travels the world installing some of the first electric light facilities and winds up working for Thomas Alva Edison’s company, where he becomes the only African American “Edison Pioneer”.

This video is part of the IEEE REACH Program’s free education resources on Electric Light. The Inquiry Unit or lesson plan on Electric Lighting can be found here.

Visit the African and Afro-descendant Heritage Page for additional spotlights and stories.