Black History Inventors Easy and Fun Art Projects - (2024)

January 20, 2021January 27, 2021 simplyoutrageousyouth Accelerated Fun Learning, Black History, Books and Fun Activities, hands-on learning, Science

Black History month is in February. This is a time to celebrate the contributions of black people to our world. In our household, my son and I learn black history year round. I am fortunate to be able to teach him black history because it is not taught within many our school districts. Today we will focus on black history inventors.

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This black inventors t-shirt is available on Amazon! Click the image above to purchase the tee.

My son, Cory, loves doing science experiments and wanted to learn about black history inventors and their inventions. For example, it was fascinating for him to learn that Lewis Latimer invented the carbon filament for the light bulb. This invention made the light bulb shine longer and brighter. Mr. Lewis worked very closely with Thomas Edison.

Hands-On Learning

I try to think of hands-on projects to help my son remember black history facts. Therefore, we decided to make replicas of the inventions we read about through art. Below are some of the art projects my son completed.

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Black History Inventors Art Projects

One of the first black history inventors we learned about was Benjamin Banneker. At the age of 20, he took a watch apart to study the pieces and to find out how it works. In 1753, at the age of 22, he built a wooden clock from his discoveries. Many people came all over to see his clock, as it kept perfect time for more than 50 years.

To celebrate Mr. Banneker, we decided to make our own clock. Below is how we did it…

Build Your Own Clock

Materials Needed:

  • Paper Plate
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Glue
  • Black Marker
  • Construction paper (2 different colors)
  • Paper Brad


  • Have your child build their own clock like Mr. Banneker.
  • Have your child paint the paper plate.
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  • Draw a long and short clock handle on the construction paper.
    • This will represent the hour and minute hands.
  • Cut the handles out of the construction paper
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  • On another piece of construction paper, write numbers 1-12
  • Cut the numbers out individually and paste them on the clock
  • Poke a hole in the center of the paper plate
  • Insert the paper brad through the hour hand, minute hand, and the hole in the center of the paper plate.
  • Secure the paper brad by separating the tines of the legs and bend them over to secure the paper.
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Another inventor we learned about was Phillip Downing. He created the street letter box, which was a tall metal box with a secure hinged door to drop letters. Before his invention, people who wanted to send mail had to go to the Post Office. The hinged door on the metal box prevented rain and snow from entering and damaging the mail. His invention allowed for people to drop their mail off near their home and to be picked-up by a mail carrier.

Our project below honors Mr. Downing’s contributions to our world…

Make Your Own Letter Box

Materials Needed:

  • Small or Medium sized cardboard box
  • Scissors
  • Blue sheets of construction paper.
  • Glue or Tape
  • Marker


  • Explain to your child that Philip Downing created the street letter box to save us a trip to the Post Office and to prevent our mail from becoming damaged.
  • Tape the cardboard box shut.
  • With adult supervision, cut a rectangle hole on the box.
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  • Tape any parts of the box that may have come apart.
  • Glue or tape the construction paper on the box so that it is fully covered.
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  • Write the world “Mailbox” on the cardboard box and tape it to the front.
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  • Optional: Have your children write a short letter and put it in your newly created mailbox.

Our Bonus Project

This year we decided to take it a step further and create something more memorable. We made a t-shirt to honor a few of the black inventors we learned about.

Below my brother is wearing the shirts. If you want one, adult and kid T-shirts are available on Amazon.

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Other Resources

If you are looking for an American History Curriculum, try activity packs and books by Monica Dorsey.

Click here to learn more about her organization Goose Goose Duck

Enjoy these activities!

Celebrate Your Kid’s Brilliance and Check Out Clothing with Positive Messages Here

Check Out Simply Outrageous Youth’s Favorite Products!


Our books are available on Amazon,“Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play,” “Fun Easy Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Write,and “Teach Your Child About Money Through Play.


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Black History Inventors Easy and Fun Art Projects - (2024)


Which Black inventor created the most interesting invention? ›

Top 10 Inventions by Black Inventors
  • Home Security Systems (1966) – Mary Van Brittan Brown. ...
  • Bonus:
  • Pacemaker (1964) – Otis Boykin. ...
  • Potato Chips (1853) – George Speck (aka. ...
  • Thermostat / Temperature Control (1935) – Frederick Jones. ...
  • Super Soaker (1990) – Lonnie G. ...
  • Touch-Tone Telephone (1987) – Dr.
Jan 30, 2023

What are some unusual Black inventions? ›

  1. Gas Mask. Garrett Morgan not only invented the gas mask; he also developed an early prototype of the traffic light.
  2. Protective Mailbox. ...
  3. Blood Bank. ...
  4. Walker Hair Care System. ...
  5. Carbon-filament Light Bulb. ...
  6. America's First Clock. ...
  7. Automatic Elevator Doors. ...
  8. Automatic Oil Cup. ...
Nov 1, 2023

Who are three Black inventors? ›

Black History Month: Feeding America celebrates 4 Black inventors who impacted our mission
  • George Washington Carver (1861-1943)
  • Frederick McKinley Jones (1893 - 1961)
  • Henry Blair (1807 - 1860)
  • Alice H. Parker (1885 - 1920)
Feb 13, 2023

What are African-American traditional crafts? ›

Quilting, pottery, blacksmithing, basket making, painting, drawing, and wood carving are just some of the genres within the realm of folk art and craft. A point of departure for a brief account of the historical presence of arts and crafts among African American Oklahomans is the period of slavery.

Who are the five Black inventor? ›

In 1821, Thomas L. Jennings, who was emancipated from slavery, became the first Black inventor to be granted a U.S. patent. He opened the door for many other African Americans inventors—like Madam C.J. Walker, Frederick McKinley Jones, Patricia Bath, and Mark Dean—to similarly make their marks.

Who was the first Black inventor? ›

Most historians agree that Thomas L. Jennings is the first African American patent holder in the United States. Jennings invented a way to dry-clean clothes in 1821.

What was one thing a Black person invented? ›

The folding chair, gas mask, traffic signal, automatic elevator doors, potato chips and the Super Soaker childrens's water gun toy were all invented by Black innovators.

What Black man invented the clock? ›

Read a biography of Benjamin Banneker, the famous African-American inventor who developed America's first fully functioning clock.

What food did Black inventors invent? ›

George Washington Carver

Suggesting that farmers plant peanuts, soy beans, and sweet potatoes to replenish nutrients in their depleted monoculture soil, Carver built the foundation on which American agriculture stands. He also invented more than 300 ways to utilize the peanut.

Who was the Black inventor who changed the world? ›

Frederick McKinley Jones

In 1940, he patented the cooling system that is used in refrigerated trucks to keep perishable goods fresh in transport. He also co-founded the U.S. Thermo Control Company, which was critical during World War II.

Who was the second Black inventor? ›

Henry Blair was an African-American inventor who, in 1834, became only the second black man to receive a United States patent for his mechanical corn planter.

What did BF Jackson invent? ›

- B F Jackson

an African-American from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Received a patent for gas burner in 1899. The burner is a heating device that uses natural gas for fuel. Jackson also invented an improved heating apparatus, a matrix drying apparatus, and a steam boiler.

What are three artistic creations from Africa? ›

Works of art from across the continent dating to the 11th through the 20th century include a pair of Tyi Wara antelope headdresses from Mali, a carved elephant tusk from the Benin Kingdom in Nigeria, a royal veranda post carved by artist Olowe of Ise, and other significant wood carvings from West and Central Africa.

What is authentic African art? ›

For decades, there has been a consensus around authenticity for African art: a genuine object is one that was made by a “traditional” artist for a “traditional” use and was used to fulfill its intended purpose.

What are examples of African art? ›

African art, the visual arts of native Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, including such media as sculpture, painting, pottery, rock art, textiles, masks, personal decoration, and jewelry.

What is an invention that was created by a Black inventor? ›

James West, along with a colleague, invented the foil electret microphone. This compact design is used in approximately 90 percent of microphones today. This technology is used in camcorders, telephones, baby monitors, hearing aids and tape recorders.

What is a famous African-American invention? ›

Carbon Light Bulb Filament, Invented by Lewis Latimer in 1881. The light bulb itself was perfected by Thomas Edison, but the innovation used to create longer-lasting light bulbs with a carbon filament came from African American inventor Lewis Latimer.


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