Growing up, Jerry Lawson was an ambitious child. In an interview with Benj Edwards of Vintage Computing and Gaming, Lawson revealed he had various projects as a kid that included a homemade ham radio, a side business selling custom-built walkie-talkies, and even an amateur radio station. To top it all off, he taught himself how to work with electronics at a young age. By the time he entered college, he already knew his stuff inside and out.
His daughter, Karen Lawson, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “By age 3 . . . he already understood the mechanisms of a gear.” As she explained, her father was driven to defy the societal limitations that held African Americans back during that time. His exploration of the limitless potential that technology presented became a way for him to carve out a path in life that didn’t appear to be available to him during that chapter of American history. Because of this, the San Francisco Chronicle explained, he spent his time “learning from experience rather than through traditional education.”
His accomplishments are already monumental, but when you realize he was able to grasp the principles he did at such a young age — and without formal — it’s even more mind-blowing.