"I had a picture of George Washington Carver [a black inventor who was born into slavery] on the wall next to my desk," he told Vintage Computing in an interview. "And she said, 'This could be you.' I mean, I can still remember that picture, still remember where it was."
It's hard to deny Lawson's geek cred: He ran an amateur radio station out of his housing project after building a ham radio on his own (complete with an antenna hanging out of his window and a radio license).
He also spent his teenage years repairing electronics all over the city. Most impressively, he taught himself most of what he knew about engineering. Lawson attended Queens College and the City College of New York before working at several firms, including Grumman Electric and Federal Aircraft. After scoring a job with Kaiser Electronics, which focused on military technology, Lawson moved to Silicon Valley
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