Dr. W. Lincoln Hawkins

Dr. W. Lincoln Hawkins was the first Black person to join the technical staff of AT&T’s Bell Labs.

Degree(s): Chemical Engineering, Chemistry

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Undergraduate Institution: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Graduate Institution: Howard University (HBCU), McGill University

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Photo Credit: Interesting Engineering

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In 1942, Dr. W. Lincoln Hawkins was the first Black person to join the technical staff of AT&T’s Bell Labs. He held 18 U.S. patents and 129 patents from foreign countries. His most notable invention was the plastic cable sheath, which revolutionized the telephone industry by expanding service across the world. Dr. Hawkins was also the first Black engineer inducted into the National Academy of Engineering. He also dedicated his career to providing opportunities for other minorities in chemistry.

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