by Allen J. Sheinman | February 4, 2016

Well, some of you might have heard of them, or at least some of them, but that wouldn't make for such a gripping headline, would it? In honor of Black History Month, The List offers this roster of amazing men and women whose accomplishments deserve wide dissemination and further study.

1. Harold Amos (1918-2003): The first African American to serve as a department chair at Harvard Medical School
2. Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806): Invented a wooden clock in 1753 and helped survey the original boundaries of the District of Columbia in 1791
3. Janet Bashen (1957-): The first African-American woman to earn a patent for web-based software, in this case a program to assist with online investigations concerning equal-employment issues
4. Patricia Bath (1942-): An ophthalmologist and inventor, she is the first black female physician to receive patents for medical inventions, including an ultrasound probe to assist in cataract surgery
5. Edward Bouchet (1852-1918): First African American to earn a Ph.D., a physics doctorate from Yale University in 1876
6. Bessie Coleman (1892-1926): Growing up in Texas picking cotton, as a young girl Coleman fell in love with flying from watching newsreels on aviation and was determined to become a pilot. As no U.S. flight schools would accept her, she went to France to pursue her dream and in 1921 became the first black woman in the world to earn a pilot's license.
7. Claudette Colvin (1939-): In Montgomery, Ala., in March 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks famously refused to surrender her seat in the whites-only section of a city bus, 15-year-old Colvin did the same, was taken to jail, and eventually was one of four plaintiffs in a landmark 1956 case that ruled Montgomery's segregated bus system was unconstitutional.
8. Matthew Alexander Henson (1866-1955): An assistant to explorer Robert Peary, Henson is considered the first person to actually step foot on the geographic North Pole on April 6, 1909.
9. Frederick McKinley Jones (1893-1961): Invented various advances in truck refrigeration enabling the long-haul transportation of perishable goods
10. Lewis Latimer (1848-1928): An engineer who worked for both Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, and who helped devise a longer-lasting light bulb than Edison's initial invention
11. Mary Mahoney (1845-1926): The first black person to work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States, graduating from nursing school in 1879
12. Lloyd A. Quaterman (1918-1982): A chemist, he worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II and subsequently helped develop the first nuclear reactor for atomic-powered submarines.
13. Robert Smalls (1839-1915): Born into slavery in South Carolina, Smalls eventually fought for the union cause in the Civil War, unofficially at first, but his efforts helped persuade President Lincoln to accept African Americans into the Union Army. After the war, as a South Carolina state representative, he helped author legislation that instituted the first free and compulsory public school system in the U.S.
14. Daniel Hale Williams (1856-1931): A surgeon who in 1891 established Provident Hospital in Chicago, considered the first non-segregated hospital in the U.S. He also is credited with having performed the first open-heart surgery in the U.S., in 1893.

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