February 3, 2006

IRWINDALE, Calif., Feb. 3, 2006 —In celebration of Black History Month, Southern California Edison (SCE) will host its fourth “Connecting the Evolution of Electricity to Black History” event today from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at its Customer Technology Applications Center (CTAC).

Black-owned businesses and community- and faith-based organizations from the Southland will join SCE employees and managers in recognizing the contributions that African Americans have made to modern technology, especially the electric industry.

“There are many African-American inventors who’ve made significant contributions to modern technology and the electric industry, pioneers who many people aren’t aware of,” said SCE’s Afarah Board, event coordinator, “people like Keith E. Gipson, Joseph Jackson, Clayton Webb, David Crosthwait, Jr., Annie Easley, Fredrick McKinley Jones, and Lewis H. Latimer. We hope that this event will increase the general awareness of their contributions.”

Artifacts of famed inventor Thomas A. Edison, as well as Latimer, an inventor, patent expert, and draftsman, will be on display.   Biographical information also will be available on dozens of African Americans who have contributed to the development of modern technology, among them Boykin, who invented an electrical device used in all guided missiles; Woods, who patented 35 electrical and mechanical devices; Jones, who patented more than 60 inventions, including the first refrigeration for long-haul trucks; and Henry, nicknamed “The Lady Edison,” who patented 49 inventions, including a vacuum ice cream freezer.

Keynote speaker at the event will be Assemblywoman Karen Bass, who prior to her election to the Assembly, had a long and distinguished career as a public advocate. Bass founded Community Coalition to improve the quality of life in South Los Angeles and served as its executive director for 14 years. She also served on the Los Angeles City Council ad hoc Committee on Gangs, Youth and Violence, which founded the L.A. Bridges after-school gang prevention program.  Bass has received many awards recognizing her efforts, as an educator and community activist.

The Master of Ceremonies for this celebration will be Dave Clark from KCAL 9. Clark is an award-winning newsman with more than a quarter century of broadcasting experience. Clark serves on boards of several community and civic organizations, and is active in the church community of Los Angeles.

“Edison is so pleased to be a part of an event that brings together the legacies of so many landmark inventors and the hopes and dreams of the community youth,” said Board. 

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An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 13 million via 4.6 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.