In 1926 an African American historian Carter G woodson, toyed with the idea of having a black history week in order to celebrate the history of African Americans amongst themselves and other Americans. It was an idea he thought will help save the African American history from being push out of the history books. That week was chosed because it is the birth day week of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, Mr carter was hoping that his idea will be the curator of the African American history until schools and mainstream education institutions start teaching the African American history as part of the American History not just an African American history.. Unfortunately his Idea was defeated because a lot of cities across the Nation started celebrating the week , and eventually it was turn into a month long celebration and so every year we learn about African American or Black History only in February, which is exactly what he was trying to avoid, how can you only celebrate a history that is as old as our Nation in 28 or 29 days, What can we possibly teach our kids about black people in a month.
We have segmented our nation’s history into months , we have the Irish-American,Women’s,LGBT, Filipino -American,Puerto Rican,Jewish and so on and so forth Months, I am wondering why we celebrate history months since all we teach students about is same freedom fighting historical figures every year, then press the re-set buttons the following year to start all over again, don't get me wrong I BELIEVE that is very important too, because we are still fighting some of the rights they were fighting , so their stories will inspire many but we need to expand the content of our teachings to beyond February and Freedom Fighting.
In my quest to find more facts and answers around black history in America I came across a lot of notable and amazing Black Americans who excelled in their chosen carriers and think its worth sharing,
If you or any one you know did benefitted a laser surgery to restore their vision thanks to Patricia Era Bath , African American ophthalmologist and inventor of the ‘Laserphaco Probe’ a tool use in removing cataract from the eye.
Another person I though I need to share is Kentucky Native , Fred Mckinley Jones, a man who had no formal education what so ever but went on to not only invent the ‘Thermo King ‘ a cooling device which transport fresh food from one point to another so that you and I can enjoy fresh Califiornian oranges in winter, he also patented another device which was used in transporting blood and plasma to our troops abroad . Have you heard of Andrew Jackson Beard from Eastlake Alabama who after working as a railman went on to invent the ‘Jenny Coupler’ a device which automatically joins train cars by simply allowing them to bump into each other. He received the patent on November 27th ,1897.
Those of us who have the privilege of calling the attention of air hostesses when we need them during our flights should be be grateful to Ms Miriam A Benjamin,a Washington D.C teacher who in 1888 received the patent for an invention she called ‘Gong chair for hotels’ The system worked by pressing a small button on the back of a chair which would relay a signal to a waiting attendant. At the same time a light would illuminate on the chair allowing the attendant to see which guest was in need of assistance. The system was adopted and installed within the United States House of Representatives and was the predecessor of the methods used today on airplanes to signal stewardesses.
We all enjoy the conveniency of storing our money and valuable items in safe boxes away from being stolen. People used to keeping their money and important documents in wooden boxes, banks used to provide safety against theft, but did not prevent bank employees from reading through customers’ personal papers that were supposed to be kept at the bank, until Henry Browne, saw the need to change that, he create a safer container and developed a forged-metal container which could be sealed with a lock and key. He patented his receptacle for storing and preserving papers and money on November 2, 1886 and it developed into what is now known as a strongbox.
The last but not the least on my roll- call is the man who The documentary film maker Ken Burns, referred to as the ‘most famous and notorious African American on earth during hid days’ . I am talking about ‘Jack’ John Arthur Johnson, the exuberant Boxer who rose to fame during the height of the Jim Crowe era. Many of you may have known him as the first African American heavyweight champion, who was charged with the Mann Act for dating and marrying white women. While in Leavenworth Federal Prison in Kansas, Johnson found the need for a tool which would help tighten of loosening fastening devices. He therefore crafted a tool and eventually patented it on April 18, 1922, calling it a wrench.
Have a wonderful Black History Month…..