One way we’re celebrating Black History is by acknowledging the contributions of some inspiring men and women who have made a difference in the energy industry.
Hazel O’Leary served as the seventh United States Secretary of Energy. She was the first woman and the first African American to hold this position. Hazel changed the way the department was run by embracing innovation and shifting the organization’s focus toward efficient and renewable energy sources.
Before serving as the Secretary of Energy, Hazel was appointed to the Federal Energy Administration under President Gerald Ford and served in the U.S. Department of Energy under President Jimmy Carter.
Clarke A. Watson
Clarke Watson founded the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE). He began the association in 1977 after then President Jimmy Carter called a meeting of energy policymakers and no minorities were invited. Watson believed there was a strong correlation between energy resource development, economic growth and the expansion of opportunities for disadvantaged minorities.
AABE is a resource for discussing the economic, social and political impact of environmental and energy policies on African Americans and other minorities. The association also encourages Black students to pursue careers in energy-related fields and provides support through scholarships and other financial aid.
Peter F. Green
Peter F. Green is the Deputy Laboratory Director of Science and Technology for The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). In this role, he’s responsible for the laboratory’s science and research goals — strengthening its core capabilities and enhancing its research portfolio. In addition, he oversees the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program, NREL-university interactions, and the postdoctoral research program.
Peter has spent over 35 years in academia and research in the energy science field. He is also a recipient of the National Science Foundation Creativity Extension Award. He has spent his career learning and working towards innovative ways to use energy.
Here are a few ways to honor Black History:
- Read a book written by a Black author
- Support Black-owned businesses and nonprofits
- Read a biography about an influential Black figure
- Explore the National Museum of African American History and Culture online