February is dedicated to remembering black women and men, who have defined history by innovating and excelling in their respective fields. Though there are countless extraordinary black people across the globe, the following 28 represent each day of Black History Month. Some of them continue to inspire our hearts and minds to this day. Some have passed, but their legacies live on through their art form, their entrepreneurial ventures, their contribution to the sciences, their sportsmanship, their research, their social activism, and their ceaseless perseverance against all odds. Each day for the final week of this month, we will highlight a few influential black people, and show gratitude for their originality and brilliance. Take a moment to regard these honorable people, and share their greatness with a friend.
Truly a man of the stars, Neil Degrasse Tyson is one of the most profound astrophysicists of our time. He has over 20 honorary doctorates from prestigious colleges across the country, and in 1996 he became the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York. As one of the few prominent black scientists in his profession, Neil made it his goal to break down the social barriers that prevent people of color from joining the field. For over a decade, he wrote monthly essays in the Universe Column for Natural History Magazine, and he has been featured as a key speaker for numerous talks on space including the Netflix original series "Cosmos." Aside from being an astrological advocate, Neil spends his free time acting in TV shows, movies and campaigning for animal rights.
Keith Black, Chairman of the Neurosurgery Department and Director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, is a heroic superman of surgery. He received both his undergraduate and medical degree in just 6 years. Over the span of his career, he has performed over 4,000 successful brain surgeries- averaging 250 a year when most neurosurgeons are only capable of executing around 100. Beyond his surgical talents, he discovered a natural body peptide that helps deliver drugs to the brain to fight tumors, and he dedicates tremendous effort as a prolific campaigner for the funding of cancer treatments in America.
Theresa Singleton became the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in Historical Archeology and African American History and Culture in 1980 from the University of Florida. She continues her studies and life quest as a professor of Archeology at Syracuse University- specializing in Historical Archaeology, African American History and Culture, Slavery in Plantation America, and Archaeology of the African Diaspora. Her dedication has won numerous research grants and awards including her most recent dedicated by the American Philosophical Society in 2016 to aid in her newest publication focusing on comparing plantation life in the Caribbean and the United States.
Dr. Patricia Bath aimed high and succeeded at innovation and progression in the field of Ophthalmology for over four decades. In 1977, she founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness in Washington, D.C. The institution built itself on the notion that eyesight was a basic human right, therefore making primary eye care available to everyone regardless of socioeconomic constraints. Soon after, she revolutionized laser cataract surgery with the invention a new technique and concept for cataract surgery know as laserphaco, and is the holder of four medical patents. Dr. Bath is also a strong advocate of Telemedicine, which uses technology to provide medical services in remote areas of the world, bringing hope and vision where people are often left undiagnosed and untreated.