It's about time! African American Women Scientists and Inventors by Dr. Otha Sullivan could not have been written at a more critical time. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, we stand, again, at the crossroads with racism, race relations, and discrimination in our country. There is much talk about reparations, affirmative action, achievement gaps, and many other issues seething with racial overtones. Solutions to our racial problems seem to escape even the most brilliant among us.
A keen awareness of one's history and self pride may be the most critical answer to the problems. A wonderful start is with the African American woman and her role in science and inventions. Dr. Sullivan could have written about her role in education, art, literature, music, or dance. He would have found much more historical documentation in these more traditional areas. Even today, and among nonminority women especially, science and inventions are considered nontraditional pursuits for women. Perhaps, he wanted more of a challenge. Or perhaps he is writing with one purpose of truly jolting our self pride and respect for our history. Indeed, he achieves this with African American Women Scientists and Inventors.
What Dr. Sullivan does in writing about such inventions as the folding cabinet-bed by Sara E. Goode and the scientific work on sickle cell anemia by Dr. Angela D. Ferguson is to take us by surprise! Who would have thought that in the midst of social and economic barriers, racism, and discrimination, the creativity of these women would thrive and emerge. Is there a message here for today's students who are often told that boys are better suited to subjects like technology and science? Is there a message here for the poor African American— boy or girl—that says, if amazing things could happen after the Civil War and in the midst of the Emancipation Proclamation, if women