• July 30, 2014

Heights reader shares reasons to celebrate black history all year

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Posted: Saturday, March 1, 2014 12:25 am

To the Editor:

Black History Month just ended, and its importance should be acknowledged by all Americans.

I am proud of my heritage. My ancestors were shackled, beaten and killed because of the color of their skin, yet survived and thrived. They didn’t just pick cotton, but fought for this country and helped build it from the ground up. The brutality those before me endured continues and still we stand.

I honor black Americans, proclaiming my pride. I am proud of those who died fighting for freedom knowing that black people’s enslavement also enslaved America. I am proud because blacks’ circumstances didn’t stop them from believing we would overcome. We have overcome much but observing attacks on the Civil Rights Act, voting rights and flagrant murder of blacks indicate we have much further to grow as a nation. Black History Month is 28 days this year.

Following is a list of 28 inventions that the world benefits from because of the ingenuity of black folks. It is a partial list, but I hope it encourages people to educate themselves on the many not listed:

Garrett Morgan, traffic light and gas mask; Madame C.J. Walker, hair-growing products; Frederick Jones, air conditioning unit; L.R. Johnson, bicycle frame; Henry T. Sampson, cellular phone; G.T. Sampson, clothes dryer; Charles Drew, blood plasma bag and blood bank; Alexander Miles, elevator; Michael Jackson, anti-gravity shoes; Robert F. Flemming Jr., guitar; Sarah Boone, ironing board; Elijah McCoy, lubricating cup, aka automatic oil cup; Lewis Latimer, carbon-filament light bulb; Phillip B. Downing, protective mailbox; Sarah Goode, folding cabinet bed; T. Marshall, fire extinguisher; T. Grant, golf tee; Lydia O. Newman, hairbrush; Walter B. Purvis, hand stamp; Michael C. Harvey, lantern; Willie Johnson, egg beater; Benjamin Banneker, first clock and six farmer almanacs; Richard Spikes, automatic gear shift; A.L. Cralle, ice cream scooper; Lonnie George Johnson, Super Soaker water gun; J. Thomas White, lemon squeezer; J.W. Winters, fire escape ladder; and lastly one of the greatest inventors of all time, George Washington Carver, developed over 300 uses for peanuts, which includes peanut butter, 118 products from sweet potatoes and many more.

Just 28 reasons I celebrate Black History every month.

Patricia Muldrow Roberts

Harker Heights

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