There are only a few inventors in this world who have made a lasting impact like Otis Boykin. Most of the everyday devices we use are made with the components made by Boykin. Take a look around your house and office, and you will see a variety of devices like computers, radios, and Tv sets – all of these are made using Boykin’s components.
When one considers the fact that Boykin’s was an African American living in a time of racial segregation, his inventions become more impressive, especially given the fact that the field of electronics was not as well-established then as it is today.
Though he attended the Illinois Institute of Technology for a time, Otis Boykin never made it to graduation because he couldn’t afford tuition. Instead, Boykin went to work as an inventor. In 1959, he received his first patent for a wire resistor that allowed a precise amount of electricity to flow to a component.
He created an even better resistor that could be manufactured inexpensively and withstand extreme temperature changes and shock, two years later in 1961. The resistor was a low-cost product that was more reliable, it brought Otis Boykin to the forefront of American electronics.
Orders were placed for the resistor including orders from Consumer electronics manufacturers, the United States military, and IBM. It would come to be used in household appliances, computers, and guided missiles – and is still used in many of those devices to this very day.
Boykin moved to Paris in 1964, creating electronic innovations for a new market of customers.
However, the most important usage of the resistor was seen in a version of Boykin’s resistor being used in the invention of the pacemaker. The pacemaker device, which keeps the heart beating regularly through electronic pulses, has helped to extend the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals.
And Otis Boykin’s accomplishments didn’t stop there. He continued to invent throughout the duration of his life (which ended in 1982), working as a consultant for firms in America and Europe.
He earned 11 patents in total and invented 28 different electronic devices. A burglar-proof cash register and a chemical air filter – both of which were never produced are some of his lesser-known inventions.
The documentation of the achievements of men like Otis Boykin is necessary and important for people of African descent worldwide.
These accounts of the noble contributions of the Black man to technology, innovation, enterprise and science, is our proof to deter misinformation about the docility of the Black man in the fields of technology.
These achievements in history should be preserved for this generation and the next. African and African-American schools and homes should do their best to make such knowledge a part of their study curriculum.
The Black child should not be told that he can’t achieve anything in life – that his race has not contributed anything to the advancement of the world.
When the Black child is presented with such lies, he/she should be able to refer to men like this and beat their chest, with pride and dignity.