Barbara Crump Jones on left, senior manager of community relations and public affairs at Fluor, is the creator and curator of the African American Pioneers in STEAM exhibition at the African American Museum of Dallas – Photos courtesy of Pioneers of Invention exhibit


Special to The Dallas Examiner


Making its second Dallas stop, the African American Pioneers in STEAM exhibition is on view at the African American Museum of Dallas now through March 17. The family-friendly exhibition features approximately 120 replicas and examples of items invented or improved by African Americans, from the three-light traffic light and the first automatic transmission to laser cataract surgery. Free and open to the public, the exhibition is presented by Fluor. The creator and curator of the exhibition is Barbara Crump Jones, senior manager of community relations and public affairs, Fluor.

Designed to inspire and enlighten, the exhibition shines a light on more than 120 African Americans – such as Lewis Latimer, Dr. Marion Croak, Dr. Charles Drew, Otis Boykin, Marie Van Brittan Brown and Frederick McKinley Jones – and their many contributions while illustrating the exciting science behind the engineering feats.

Inventions include groundbreaking game-changers such as the IBM computer co-invented by Mark E. Dean, the three-way traffic light by Garrett Morgan and Otis Boykin’s wire precision resistor used in pacemakers along with everyday household staples like the ironing board by Sarah Boone, the pencil sharpener by John Lee Love and the cornice board –window treatment – by Samuel Scottron.

Other African American standouts include Freedom House, the world’s first emergency medical technicians; the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American military airmen; Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols, the first African American woman to appear in a leading role on TV; and Paul Williams, a renowned California architect who learned to draw his architectural designs upside down because some of his clients were uncomfortable sitting next to him.

Families and individuals can participate in the Inventor Bingo game as they race to be the first to find a Red Tail airplane, flea plane, blue mailbox, heart pacemaker, Dr. Charles Drew’s book; Uhura-Spaceship Enterprise, a Freedom House EMS Diorama, toaster, folding bed and more African American achievements.

The museum, is located at 3536 Grand Ave. in historic Fair Park, is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free self-parking is available in nearby lots. Enter at Gate 5. For more information, visit or call 214-565-9026.

Mollie Finch Belt is the Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of The Dallas Examiner. She attended elementary school in Tuskegee, Ala.; Cambridge, Mass.; and Dallas, Texas. In 1961, she graduated from...

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