I can't think of a better day to acknowledge just some of the great achievements of African American inventors.

Otis Boykin

A prolific inventor throughout the 50's, 60's, 70's and until the day he died in 1982. Boykin specialized in electronics, earning several patents in the development of resistors. His 1961 electrical resistor was a breakthrough for IBM, hearty enough and reliable enough to be used in computing. Perahps his greatest invention was the control unit used in pacemakers. Ironically, Boykin died of a heart attack.

Mark Dean

Dean is one of the most prominent black inventors in modern technology. Out of the original nine patents IBM filed in the invention of the PC, Dean holds three of them.

Shirley Jackson

Her patents were instrumental in the development of such breakthrough technologies as the touch tone phone, caller ID and call waiting.

John Henry Thompson

First there were only programming languages in computing that enabled white fonts on a black screen, later a blue screen. Thompson's invention of the programming language "Lingo" enabled those first generations of graphics and animations that made computers a visual medium. Without Thompson, the Internet would be a very boring place today.

Lonnie Johnson

Johnson accumulated more than 40 patents during his years working for the U.S. Air Force and Nasa. He worked on both the Mars Observer project and Galileo Jupiter Probe. However, his more lucrative and most famous claim to fame is undoubtedly an invention we've all heard of: the Super Soaker.

Charles Richard Drew

Drew co-founded the first U.S. blood bank and developed standards for international blood donation and storage.

Rufus Weaver

Weaver invented a wheelchair that climbs stairs.

L.P. Ray

Back in 1897, Ray invented something called a dustpan. That's right! Before Ray, everyone just swept their dirt out the door.

A.C. Richardson

Richardson filed his most famous patents back in the 1890's: the butter churn and a casket lowering device still used in the funeral business today.

If you're looking for a dose of good ole American entrepreneurship and the inspiring dogged pursuit to achieve, look no further than the list above.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King. We'll keep dreaming.