High Tech "Invisible" African American


By: Elizabeth Smith

dr.mark_dean.jpgWhy wait on focus months or days to delve into our history and celebrate the achievements of those from the African Diaspora? Yardflex caught onto the fact that Dr. Mark Dean, who most of you have never heard of, was not recognised for his achievements at a recent IBM 20th anniversary celebration; when in fact this African American helped to initiate a digital revolution.

Having more than 30 patents pending, Dr Dean is not only a Vice President with IBM, he also is the architect of the modern-day personal computer. As the holder of three of the original nine patents on the computer that all PCs are based on, Dr Dean is featured in the National Hall of Inventors. In fact his ingenuity helped to start an era that created people like Bill Gates and Dell Computer's Michael Dell; millions of jobs in information technology can be traced back to him.

So what is the reason that his praises are not sufficiently lauded you ask, when in fact Dr Dean helped to shape the landscape of our society.? It is the consequence of a systemic poison known too well to "African Westerners" who are still denied substantial and meaningful representation in mass media.

Not the first to be treated like a mere footnote, Dr. Dean joins the ranks of other prestigious African American inventors who have been blatantly overlooked. John Stanard, inventor of the refrigerator, George Sampson, creator of the clothes dryer, Alexander Miles brought us the elevator and Lewis Latimer – the electric lamp.

None of these great inventors should be allowed to go quietly unnoticed. They are important and serve as great inspirations for particularly African American youth.

Technically Dr Dean cannot be credited as creating the computer, an English mathematician, Alan Turing mastered that. However, for the machine we use today for homes and small businesses, he deserves great praise, as he led a team that developed the interior architecture (ISA systems) that enables multiple devices, like modems and printers to be connected to personal computers.

Recently, Dr Dean again made history by leading the design team that engineered the first 1-gigahertz processor chip; another big stride in making computers faster and smaller.

Born in 1957, Dr. Dean is still full of inventive ideas. We must ensure his story is kept in the mix when technological advances are being celebrated.