Northern Kentucky University

Poster Title

The Genius of Frederick McKinley Jones: Kentucky’s African-American Inventor

Institution

Northern Kentucky University

Abstract

The poster relates the life history of Frederick McKinley Jones, the first African-American given the National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States. Jones, born in Covington, Kentucky in 1893, had an African-American mother and an Irish-American father. His mother died when he was still a toddler and after a few years of trying to provide a stable home for Jones, his father left the boy in the care of a local priest.But Fred Jones had a gift – he had the mind of a mechanical genius. From his first experiences of taking apart his father’s watch to his first job in an automobile garage, Jones practiced and increased his knowledge of mechanical engineering. After facing a harsh job market created by both economic hard times and outright racism, Jones made his way to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he partnered with Joseph Numero to form the ThermoKing Corporation. With Numero’s business expertise and Jones’ mechanical know-how, the company introduced the first refrigeration unit for transport trucks and forever changed how Americans think about and eat food.Fred Jones life stands as a testament to the American dream and opportunities for those with a pioneer spirit of hard work and inspiration. He is a Kentuckian worthy of honor and remembrance, who met the challenges of the world he lived in, but he rose above them to the benefit of many.

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The Genius of Frederick McKinley Jones: Kentucky’s African-American Inventor

The poster relates the life history of Frederick McKinley Jones, the first African-American given the National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States. Jones, born in Covington, Kentucky in 1893, had an African-American mother and an Irish-American father. His mother died when he was still a toddler and after a few years of trying to provide a stable home for Jones, his father left the boy in the care of a local priest.But Fred Jones had a gift – he had the mind of a mechanical genius. From his first experiences of taking apart his father’s watch to his first job in an automobile garage, Jones practiced and increased his knowledge of mechanical engineering. After facing a harsh job market created by both economic hard times and outright racism, Jones made his way to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he partnered with Joseph Numero to form the ThermoKing Corporation. With Numero’s business expertise and Jones’ mechanical know-how, the company introduced the first refrigeration unit for transport trucks and forever changed how Americans think about and eat food.Fred Jones life stands as a testament to the American dream and opportunities for those with a pioneer spirit of hard work and inspiration. He is a Kentuckian worthy of honor and remembrance, who met the challenges of the world he lived in, but he rose above them to the benefit of many.