The influential 50 | January 30, 2009 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - January 30, 2009

The influential 50

City Hall exhibit highlights high-tech contributions of 50 African Americans

Since the 1950s, African Americans have made their mark in every sector of information technology, including semiconductors, magnetics, VM, 3-D workstations, software and networking, according to John William Templeton, a business commentator, journalist and historian and author of books and writings on the role of African Americans in California history and technology.

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Like this comment
Posted by bob johnson
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2009 at 11:42 am

Suggested reading

Movers and Shakers: African-American Leaders of the 20th Century

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Sad that only 46 people looked at this important posting and only one person commented.

We still have a long way to go to equality in so many areas but I'm encouraged that so many African-Americans have risen so far in such important areas. Not to mention politics.

Like this comment
Posted by william
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 10, 2009 at 10:45 pm

There has been an increase in racial bigotry in this country over the past year.

Like this comment
Posted by Rob
a resident of Woodside
on Sep 11, 2009 at 8:18 am

I think it's kind of patronizing to pick a race and boast about the accomplishments achieved. This is old-fashioned thinking and nails us by the skin to the on going battle of race relations.

Please try to celebrate an individual for her accomplishments, not a race.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2009 at 9:20 am


What you say makes so much sense. Most of the innovations from this country have come from immigrants of one type of another - 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation Americans. Many of these have ancestors who have suffered in their homelands before emigrating here. It makes no sense to single out ethnicity when it comes to innovation.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Rob and Resident,

When one honestly looks at the terrible prejudice that African-Americans and mixed race people have faced since the first slaves were brought here in chains, I think it does make sense to celebrate those who have succeeded.

There is still vile and vicious racial hatred expressed overtly and covertly in this fair land. Consider the un-funny smears of the president by those who seek to use prejudice for political and cultural gain. There are towns and neighborhoods where only whites are welcome. There are people who continue to laud the culture of the American south – the culture that brutalized African-Americans and the courageous whites who have stood up for them. The Civil Rights Movement was not that long ago.

If you were to look honestly at the systematic denial of proper education and employment opportunities for African-Americans throughout not only the deep south but by much of the north, as well, you might come to a different conclusion.

Almost all African-Americans are instantly identifiable as such; they show their race all the time. Not true for most immigrants from European countries.

Take an honest look and then see if you can still say race shouldn’t be a factor in honoring these people. I wish with all my heart that it shouldn’t be, but at this time, in this country, it is.

Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 11, 2009 at 2:51 pm

svatoid is a registered user.

Wait until Rush Limabugh, Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin get a load of this list (along with their counterparts on this fourm)--they will start screaming bloody murder that white men are being discriminated against by only having African-Americans on the list

Like this comment
Posted by Rob
a resident of Woodside
on Sep 11, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Fact- There are 40 successful people from race x. Fact - People in race x endured tormations x, y & z. Fact- The 40 successful people from race x are from the same group that endured tormations x, y & z. Therefore, experiencing tormations x, y & z does not disqualify one from being a successful person.

In other words, drop your baggage and quit making excuses.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2009 at 8:57 pm


Fact: You're not being honest.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2009 at 8:23 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

So, did they achieve their success because they were Black, in spite of being Black or irrelevant of skin color? In the Homebrew Computer Club, wellspring of the personal computer, there was one black, perhaps several women and a predominance of men, including two Steves and a Felsenstein, in an enrollment of several hundred.