Illustration of Black History Month Banner Image


Celebrating Black History Month 2022




During Black History Month (2022 marks the 52nd year of observance) many of us reflect on the history, trials, and achievements of Black people in America. Here we focus on showcasing Black excellence and highlight eight extraordinary individuals whose contributions are woven into the fabric of the American story.

The efforts these Americans put forth brought advances that have changed the business landscape and healthcare industry, revitalized energy practices, and given hope to today’s youth that their dreams can literally extend to the ends of the earth and beyond. Their work shows that regardless of the color of your skin, the American dream is possible. You can achieve anything that you can imagine or dream.


Let us consider applying that focus to reflect, learn and celebrate for the remaining months of the year.

Photo of Daniel Hale Williams (1856 - 1931)

Daniel Hale Williams (1856 - 1931)

  • First African American to successfully perform open-heart surgery
  • Founded the first black-owned hospital in America
  • First African American physical admitted to the American College of Surgeons
  • Created two hospital training school programs for African-American nurses

Photo of Ottawa W. Gurley Businessman and Real Estate Developer

Ottawa W. Gurley (1867-1935)

  • Purchased 40 acres of land which turned into the wealthiest black community in American History – Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma aka Black Wall Street
  • Provided monetary loans to Blacks looking to start their own businesses in the Greenwood District
  • Owned more than 100 properties in Greenwood

Photo of Frederick M Jones  - Inventor and Entrepreneur

Frederick M Jones (1893-1961) - Inventor and Entrepreneur

  • Inventor of the first automatic refrigeration system for truck; later modified to be used for trains, boats and ships, revolutionizing the preservation and distribution of food and other perishables
  • 20th-Century African American inventor who patented more than sixty patents, with forty of them in refrigeration
  • First African American inventor to be awarded the National Medal of Technology (posthumously)

Portrait of Charles Alfred Anderson - Aviator

Charles Alfred Anderson 1907-1996 - Aviator & Flight Instructor

  • World-famous flier before World War II
  • Father of African American aviation, recognized for training and mentoring African American pilots
  • First African American to earn a commercial pilot license and air transport license, in 1932
  • Ground commander and chief instructor for the famed Tuskegee Airmen flight squadron
  • Part of a two-man crew that flew the first transcontinental roundtrip flight by Black pilots

Photo of Jane Cook Wright (1919-2013) Oncologist

Jane Cook Wright (1919-2013) Oncologist

  • Responsible for making chemotherapy a more accessible method of cancer treatment
  • Professor of surgery, head of the cancer chemotherapy department and Associate Dean at New York Medical College
  • First woman to be elected president of the New York Cancer Society

Photo of Dr. Mae C. Jemison  - Physician, Engineer & NASA Astronaut

Dr. Mae C. Jemison (1956 - ) Physician, Engineer & NASA Astronaut

  • First African American woman in space
  • Leading the 100 Year Starship project through the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
  • Author of several children’s books
  • Serves on the board of directors of many organizations, including Kimberly-Clark Corporation and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
  • Inducted into the National Medical Association Hall of Fame and the National Women’s Hall of Fame

Photo of Robert F. Smith (1962 - ) CEO, Investor & Businessman

Robert F. Smith (1962 - ) CEO, Investor & Businessman

  • Principal Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive of Vista Equity Partners – a private equity and venture capital firm
  • Founding Director & President of Fund II Foundation – a foundation dedicated to supporting programs and organizations that redress social, radial and economic inequalities and improve lives of the most vulnerable
  • Notably known for paying off student debt loan of 2019 graduating class at HBCU Morehouse College

Photo of  Ugwen I. Eneyo Engineer & Entrepreneur

Ugwen I. Eneyo (1991- ) Engineer & Entrepreneur

  • Co-Founder and CEO of SHYFT Power Solutions, an award-winning venture-backed technology company focused on grid reliability and resiliency in emerging markets
  • One of the earliest black female founders to have raised over one million dollars in venture capital
  • Listed in the Forbes List of 30 Under 30 in Energy, Climate & Capital Media’s Ten to Watch, and other recognitions