Famous Black Engineers Throughout History

Color guard of African-American engineers, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, 1943. Buyenlarge/Getty Images

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology had its first African-American graduate, Robert R. Taylor, in 1892. It was only 25 years later, in 1917, that the university gave its first civil engineering diploma to an African-American. For quite a while throughout history, engineering was almost entirely the domain of white men.

Although Caucasian males still dominate the profession in the U.S. (only 5 percent of engineers are African-American, only 13.4 percent are women of any race, according to one 2011 report), it's important to recognize the significant legacies that black men and women have created in the field [source: Koebler].

In this article, we'll head from the copy machines at work to the satellites in space and meet some African-Americans who aren't just pioneers for their race but are trailblazers in their profession.