NASITC's Diversity & Information Technology (IT) Knows & News

NASITC People You Should Know

Born in Kenya on April 1, 1940, Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She was recognized “for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace.” Dr. Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement to encourage African women to counter deforestation. She was also the first ever female professor in Kenya, where she taught veterinary anatomy at the University of Nairobi.

Diversity in History

John Mercer Langston became one of the first African Americans elected to public office on April 22, 1855 when he was selected as township clerk in Brownhelm, Ohio. He went on to serve as a House representative for Virginia from 1889 to 1891, a state where he was the first Black man to do so.

Diverse Words You Should Know

Merriam-Webster defines intersectionality as “the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.” The term was popularized by UCLA law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw who discussed the harmful impact of isolating individual identities from one another in her 1991 article "Mapping the Margins."

So You Thought You Knew

Onesimus, a West African slave in Boston at the time of the smallpox epidemic, developed a method of protecting against smallpox that involved rubbing pus from an infected person into an open wound on a healthy person. This inoculation technique activated the recipient’s immune response and ultimately proved to provide significant protection against the disease. When Cotton Mather, Onesimus’ slave owner, worked with a physician to inoculate 242 Bostonians using Onesimus’ method, only six died of the disease.

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