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  • SE3 Racial Equity Task Group

Read.Watch.Listen. Celebrating Black History Month

February 2021 Issue

A monthly forum to share diversity, equity, and inclusion resources.

Welcome to the next installment of Read.Watch.Listen: a monthly forum hosted by the NCSEA SE3 Committee to share and promote conversations on diversity, equity and inclusion within the structural engineering profession. Each month, we will curate a series of articles, audio-visual and digital media to facilitate self-education in matters that affect our professional practice as structural engineers. Whether you choose to read, watch, or listen (or all three!), we hope you will join us in this important conversation.

Photo Credit: freepik

In this post, we celebrate Black History Month. Historically, Black engineers have been overlooked for their contributions to our industry and our society. The resources below highlight just a few accomplished Black engineers, while also noting the systems of oppression that kept them from being recognized in their time.

As we reflect on the 'hidden figures' within our profession, let's also consider ways to increase the diversity of our future engineers! In the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities' 2018 Status Report on Engineering Education, only 4% of all bachelor degrees awarded in engineering went to Black students in 2016. Similarly reported in the Demographics Topic Brief, roughly 1% of respondents in the 2020 SE3 Survey identified as Black. There are many opportunities to improve the representation of Black Americans in the structural engineering profession when they comprise roughly 14% of the US population.

Share your thoughts and/or recommended resources for the next issue at



Highlights of Notable Black Engineers

ASCE Celebrates Black History Month

Compiled by the Oregon Section of ASCE, this article provides biographies of eight African American engineers who had an impact on the civil engineering industry.

Originally published February 11, 2019; Estimated Read Time: 5 min

Famous Black Engineers Throughout History

Read more about the historical engineers highlighted by ASCE, as well as some more recent Black engineers, in this article compiled by How Stuff Works.

QUIZ: Celebrating African American Engineers and Inventors

With this quiz from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, test your knowledge of African American engineers and inventors! Review your results to learn more about these inspiring individuals.


State Lauds Black Soldiers' Work on WWII Highway - Associated Press

This video from the Associated Press describes the tremendous civil engineering feat performed by Black soldiers during World War II. Segregated from the rest of the military, these men constructed 1,500 miles of the ALCAN Highway over 8 months while enduring harsh conditions, working without proper tools, and without recognition until the recent celebration on the 75th anniversary of the highway’s completion.


Inside the Minds of America's Greatest Black Inventors - The Takeaway

In this episode of The Takeaway, Keith Holmes and Sandra Morgan discuss the contributions and struggles of Black engineers and inventors during the early 20th century. Holmes is the author of Black Inventors: Crafting of 200 Years of Success. Morgan shares insight into the personality and perseverance of her grandfather, Garrett A. Morgan--investor of the 3-way traffic signal and holder of several patents.


This article was originally published in the February 2021 issue of NCSEA's Structural Connection newsletter. For more information, check out NCSEA's DEI Resources.

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