You may not have heard of Dr. Mark Dean. And you aren’t alone. But almost everything in your life has been affected by his work.

See, Dr. Mark Dean is a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He is in the National Hall of Inventors. He has more than 30 patents pending. He is a vice president with IBM. Oh, yeah. And he is also the architect of the modern-day personal computer.

Dr. Dean holds three of the original nine patents on the computer that all PCs are based upon. And, Dr. Mark Dean is an African American.

So how is it that we can celebrate the 20th anniversary of the IBM personal computer without hearing much about him? It certainly isn’t IBM’s doing.

The mass media again are under the spotlight. Given all of the pressure they are under about negative portrayals of African Americans on television and in print, you would think it would be a slam dunk to highlight someone like Dr. Dean. Somehow, though, we have managed to miss the shot.

History is cruel when it comes to telling the stories of African Americans. Dr. Dean isn’t the first Black inventor to be overlooked….

Consider John Stanard, inventor of the refrigerator; George Sampson, creator of the clothes dryer; Alexander Miles and his elevator; Lewis Latimer and the electric lamp. All of these inventors share two things: One,–they changed the landscape of our society; and, two–society relegated them to the footnotes of history.

Hopefully, Dr. Mark Dean won’t go away quietly as they did. He certainly shouldn’t. Dr. Dean helped start a Digital Revolution that created people like Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Dell Computer’s Michael Dell. Millions of jobs in information technology can be traced back directly to Dr. Dean.

More important, stories like Dr. Mark Dean’s should serve as inspiration for African-American children. Already, victims of the “Digital Divide” and failing school systems, young, Black kids might embrace technology with more enthusiasm if they knew someone like Dr. Dean was already leading the way.

Although technically Dr. Dean can’t be credited with creating the computer– that is left to Alan Turing, a pioneering 20th-century English mathematician, widely considered to be the father of modern computer science — Dr. Dean rightly deserves to take a bow for the machine we use today.

The computer really wasn’t practical for home or small business use until he came along, leading a team that developed the interior architecture (ISA systems bus) that enables multiple devices, such as modems and printers, to be connected to personal computers. In other words, because of Dr. Dean, the PC became a part of our daily lives.

We cannot afford to let Dr. Mark Dean become a footnote in history. He is well worth his own history book.

This article was written and published by Tyrone Taborn, CEO and Chief Content Officer of USBE magazine, in 2001, to mark the 20th anniversary of the IBM personal computer. Mark E Dean is now the John Fisher Distinguished Professor at the University of Tennessee College of Engineering. He was honored as Black Engineer of the Year in 2000.

 

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View Comments (15)

PatMay 4, 2017
4:55 pm

Excellent

Reply

DanitaMay 4, 2017
6:11 pm

I am well aware of Dr. Mark Dean. Every February I send out Black History Tidbits everyday for the month and I sent his info out two years in a row. There is no reason why we should not know about our Black History makers past and present, with the internet there is no excuse for ignorance. All you have to do is google Black history makers or inventors and all kinds of information comes up past and present.

Reply

RJMay 5, 2017
1:21 pm

Thank you

Reply

princeMay 6, 2017
5:28 am

Excellent

Reply

Steven ZinhagelMay 6, 2017
8:50 am

I’m awake => W.U.N. (Wake Up Now) !!

Reply

Annette AyresMay 6, 2017
12:29 pm

Why am I just finding out about this brilliant very intelligent African-American gentleman???

Reply

TrishMay 7, 2017
4:04 am

I wasn’t aware. Good to know.

Reply

Jonathan RazoMay 7, 2017
6:02 am

I had the privilege to get to know Mark and work at IBM Research. Go Mark!!!

Reply

Mary BergerMay 9, 2017
12:11 am

Thank you for sharing this important message. Thank you
For your contributions to America and beyond.

The physician who developed type and cross match for
The first blood transfusions was black and also not revered.
These are terrible omissions from American history.

Reply

MaryMay 9, 2017
2:02 am

At what point will we as a people stop waiting on the ‘white media’ to celebrate our intellect?? We need our own forms of media – digital, print, and televised. Now if he was a singer or an actor – he would stay in Essence- we need new fresh perspectives in this arena!

Reply

Cynthia TalleyMay 9, 2017
5:41 am

Awesome! We need to make sure our youth know of the examples of our successes! #sharetheknowledge

Reply

Terry W BarksadaleMay 9, 2017
10:23 am

Thanks for the information! I would also add the name of Jessie Russell who is a graduate of Tennessee State University regarding the Cell Phone.

Reply

Sis JonesMay 11, 2017
3:02 pm

Just love my black history ! Amazing to see all the accomplishments our people have made. Please keep posting.

Reply

    DeeMay 30, 2017
    6:44 pm

    Wonderful information! So much is finally surfacing about our awesome history.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

AzizMay 22, 2017
11:57 am

I agreed with you Danita, here is another suggested link check it out http://www.tnj.com/black-history-makers/major-inventions-african-americans. Please research and be familiar with your history… you will be VERY PROUD of yourself.

Reply

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