There are many components involved in making cell phone communication possible, there is a variety of technical expertise that goes into making it possible for you to chat with your friends and family members. Without going into the weeds or too deep into the technical explanation, I will talk about the more obvious part of a wireless system, since the main point of this article is to really stress the fact that Jesse Eugene Russell, a Black Man played a big part in developing the wireless system.
The handset or the cell phone you are holding is wirelessly connected to a cell tower responsible for receiving any calls and rerouting these calls to a particular MSC (Mobile Switching Center). The MSC will subsequently forward your calls to either another MSC or to another cell phone tower or to a regular home or office telephone. Within the MSC and the Cell towers and your handset there are many different type of technologies working concurrently for this entire system to function, thus various disciplines are also required; Electrical Engineers(most important), Software Engineers, Computer Scientists, Computer Engineers, Physical Designers or Mechanical Engineers are the most immediate disciplines needed. The list doesn't include the chip manufactures that require lots of chemistry or Chemical Engineering.
During my 8 years working for Lucent Technologies-Bell Laboratories which originally was called AT&T-Bell Laboratories, I met lots of talented Engineers or MTS (Member of Technical Staff), our title then. I was hired to developed and to designed part of the cell tower, a particular system named SII-system, or pronounced Series-2 system. Without Jesse Eugene Russell's contribution, my job would have been completely different, since he contributed a great deal to the SII-system.
Prior to Jesse Eugene Russell's invention, a mobile device was only possible to be used in a vehicle or in a car, because the power required for that mobile to transmit a signal to a cell tower would have been impossible for a small handset device to handle. So, Mr. Russell's invention made it possible for the proliferation of handset devices and for its affordability. So the technological dynamic between the handset device and the cell towers was re-engineered (a new concept was invented) by Mr. Russell and thus, the possibility for signal transmission between our current handset devices and the cell phone towers. So how popular are the cell phones today?
Though I never personally met Mr. Russell, since my time at Bell Labs began after Russell left the company. However, the speculated reason for his resignation was distasteful. After he resurrected the dying wireless department at AT&T-Bell Labs as a department-head, he was replaced by a white man who's name escape me now - I will update this post when I remember. So, Russell was instrumental in making the cell phone industry what it is today, but most black folks are not aware of that. Unfortunately, since we don't control the industry, Mr. Russell was replaced by a white man as the department head.
The good news is that Russell has gone to create his own company. I encourage you all to do additional research on this brother. Russell's innovations continue to spark the international economy, over 2.5 billion smart-phones were sold from 2010 to 2015.
So, the lesson for us is that we need to create our own industry; whatever you are good at, you need to find ways to work for yourself and to work with the extended family and eventually to develop our own industry - that's the only way forward for us.