KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — A Kinston native is being coined as a “hidden figure” for his inventions, which some historians say led to the discovery of some of our modern technology.

“There are multiple, thousands of successful black individuals, men and women who have done outstanding accomplishments and contributions to this country,” said Nathaniel Vause, a Kinston Native and historian. “You don’t hear of them. Mr. Dove is just one. In fact, he’s just one in Kinston.”

John F. Dove was born in Kinston, North Carolina in 1924.

“He went to Adkin High School and after graduating from there, went to NC A&T, went into the military,” said Vause.

“He came out of the Army and then went to Columbia (University). But right before he went to Columbia, he got married to my grandmother,” said Zayla Colquitt, John F. Dove’s granddaughter. “And so then they moved to New York. And yeah, got his bachelor’s in mathematics.

“And then got picked up by the Rome Air Force Development Center in upstate New York. And so he worked there. And that’s where he started developing most of his, like inventions.”

You may recognize some of Dove’s inventions. Some of them date back to the 50s and have brought us many modern technologies, experts say.

“What I was told growing up, was that he made the technology that started like the CD, like the CD ROM, the CD ROM drive, and laser technology. Really, I know that there were about six patents,” said Colquitt. “I’m just thinking like, all of our internet now is fiber optics. And it’s like, well, that’s what he was researching.”

“The thing that really drove in terms of revolution in telecommunication was fiber optics. With fiber optic cable, things just move at the speed of light,” said Vause.

Colquitt said that his grandfather didn’t keep his research to himself.

“He also went to work with NATO. So they were living in the Netherlands for three years. And he was working and helping, advising on technology, and then came back and started his own business,” Colquitt said.

It’s been almost twenty years since Dove passed away. His family and researchers are talking more about his contributions, since you can’t find his name in any history books. There is speculation that this could be due to his race.

“If you look up anything dealing with this, you don’t see Mr. Dove’s name anywhere,” said Vause. “There is so much in the history of African Americans that has … has not been recorded. Whether that was by design or not, there is a reason. Jim Crow has a lot to do with it. It was primarily to keep Black people back.”

It’s important to not only recognize his accomplishments but to encourage future generations.

“If they see it, they will be it. That’s powerful,” Vause said. “If they see it, they will be it. That works both ways. So many minority kids see gangs, crime, so what they see, they’ll be. That’s why it’s so critical that they see positive people.”