Henry Thomas Sampson
Henry Sampson is the first African-American to earn a Phd. in Nuclear Engineering in the United States. He served in the United States Navy from 1962-64. Mr. Sampson left the Navy to further his college education, earning an Masters of Science degree in engineering from the University of Illinois in 1965 and his Phd. in 1967. This achievement was, in part, aided with an honor from the Atomic Energy Commission awarded him from 1964-67.
In 1982, Henry Sampson was lauded with the Black Image Award from Aerospace Corporation followed in 1983 with the Blacks in Engineering, Applied Sciences Award, by the Los Angeles Council of Black Professional Engineers. He went on to a career with the US Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, California, in the research department for high energy solid propellants and case bonding materials for solid rocket motors.
Garrett Augustus Morgan
Son of former slaves, Garrett Morgan was born in Kentucky in 1877. Obsessed with education and the invention of items to improve life and to make it safer for those within the industrial industries, Garrett Morgan began his first career in Cleveland in a commercial sewing factory where he developed numerous sewing machine parts and accessories to improve both the garment but manufacturing output.
His most famous invention and the one with global reaches came in 1914 when Garrett Morgan was awarded a patent for what he called a Safety Hood and Smoke Protector: the first gas mask. In 1916, Garrett Morgan garnered international attention and fame when he used his Safety Hood to help rescue 32 men trapped in an underground tunnel beneath Lake Erie. After the successful rescue, fire departments across the United States sent orders for Garrett Morgan’s safety hood. It was later refined for use by the United States Army in both WWI and WWII.