February 9, 2007

IRWINDALE, Calif., Feb. 9, 2007 —In celebration of Black History month, Southern California Edison (SCE) will host its fifth “Connecting the Evolution of Electricity to Black History” event today from 10 a.m. to noon at its Customer Technology Application Center here.

Community- and faith-based organizations from throughout the Southland will join SCE employees, managers, and executives, and black-owned businesses in recognizing the contributions made by African Americans to modern technology, especially electricity.  Southern California inventors also will attend.

“African American inventors have made significant contributions to modern technology and the electric industry,” said SCE’s Afarah Board, event coordinator.  “Our celebration is to honor those we know of and to personally acknowledge those living in our service territory, people like Keith E. Gipson, Clayton Webb, and Joseph Jackson.”

Gipson is the co-inventor of an Internet-based system that performs facility and energy management for large corporations.  Webb is the developer of an automated meter reading system.  Jackson is the developer of a device that allows parents to better control their children’s television viewing.

Keynote speaker at the event will be John W. Mack, one of the most distinguished and widely recognized African American leaders in Southern California and the president of the Los Angeles Police Commission.  The recipient of numerous awards for his work in education, the humanities, and public policy, Mack was appointed to the commission in 2005 and is the former president of the Los Angles Urban League, one of the most successful nonprofit community organizations in Los Angeles.  

The master of ceremonies will be Beverly White, reporter and anchor at KNBC-4.  Prior to joining KNBC-4 in 1992, White was on the award-winning team that covered Hurricane Andrew for WTVJ in Miami, Fla.  In 1997, New Times magazine named White best local news reporter and in 2000 Essence magazine designated White a “Live Shot Diva.”  White is a past president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.  She currently lives in Los Angeles with her family.

On display will be artifacts of famed inventor Thomas A. Edison, as well as Louis Latimer, a black inventor, patent expert, and draftsman.   Biographical information also will be available on dozens of African Americans who have contributed to the development of modern technology, among them Otis Boykin, who invented an electrical device used in all guided missiles; Granville T. Woods, who patented 35 electrical and mechanical devices; Frederick M. Jones, who patented more than 60 inventions, including the first refrigeration for long-haul trucks; and Beulah L. Henry, nicknamed “The Lady Edison,” who patented 49 inventions, including a vacuum ice cream freezer.
“Edison is very pleased to be a part of an event that brings together the legacies of so many landmark inventors who have impacted the hopes and dreams of the African American community,” said SCE’s Board.

More information on African American inventors is available at www.sce.com/inventors.

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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 4.7 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.