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Black History Month

The Virginia Living Museum celebrates Black History Month with information and activities relating to African American scientists.

February 1-7: Benjamin Bannaker

Benjamin Bannaker

  • Born in 1731 in Baltimore, Maryland as a free man to educated African-American homesteaders which was not common for the time
  • Banneker gained many science and engineering skills such as clock making, mechanics, surveying, and astronomy, though he was well known for his popular and reliable almanac publishing. 
  • His observations of cicadas was the first in history to notice the cicada’s 17 year cycle and recent historians are making a large effort to credit him for this discovery.

February 8-14: Rue Mapp

Rue Mapp

  • Rue Mapp created a blog in 2009 dedicated to connecting Black Americans to the outdoors which turned into a nationally recognized nonprofit called Outdoor Afro.
  • Her work has helped to minimize the stereotypes of Black Americans in the outdoors as well as connect Black American with similar interests in a culturally stigmatized subject.
  • Mapp became a National Geographic 2019 Fellow, Heinz Awards Honoree, and National Wildlife Federation Communication Award recipient, among many other recognitions.

February 15-21: Marie Clark Taylor

Marie Clark Taylor

  • Marie Clark Taylor was the first woman of color to earn a PhD in botany which she received at Fordham University in 1941 and later became Head of the Botany Department at Howard University.
  • Her research focused on plant photomorphogenesis, the impact of light on plant growth.
  • Organized a series of summer science institutes for high school teachers in order to introduce them to new methods of teaching science. She encouraged teachers to adopt her innovative methods, such as using real botanical materials and light-microscopes to study living cells.

February 22-28: Imani Black

Imani Black

  • Imani Black is the Founder and CEO of Minorities in Aquaculture, an organization that connects minority populations to sustainable seafood. Aquaculture is the process of breeding, raising, and harvesting fish and shellfish.
  • Born in Maryland, Imani attended ODU and interned with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s VA Oyster Restoration Team. Imani has also participated with VIMS’ Oyster Aquaculture Training program.
  • As a Chesapeake Bay oyster farmer, Imani shares her passion for aquaculture by educating and encouraging minorities to participate in sustainable farming.