Title

The myth of the first African-American electrical engineer: Arthur U. Craig and the importance of teaching in technological history

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-2-2016

Abstract

Abstract: In recent years, historians of technology including Bruce Sinclair, Rayvon Fouché, and Amy Slaton have analyzed the intersection of technological and African-American history to redress the historical and enduring correlation between whiteness and technology. This paper contributes to this conversation by chronicling the story of Arthur U. Craig, a faculty member at the Tuskegee Institute who installed the university’s famous lighting system. During Craig’s tenure at the Institute, he was touted to be the ‘first black electrical engineer’ – but he resisted that title. This article examines why. In so doing, ‘The Myth of the First African-American Electrical Engineer’ builds upon three scholarly conversations. First, it discusses how the cultural meanings of electricity inflected how Tuskegee advertised Craig’s contributions to campus. Second, it re-situates the often-overlooked Craig within the history of Tuskegee Institute. Finally, it examines Craig’s contribution to debates about engineering education for African American students.

Publication Title

History and Technology

Volume

32

Issue

1

First Page

70

Last Page

90

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1080/07341512.2016.1184016

ISSN

07341512

E-ISSN

14772620

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