Every February 1st marks the annual celebration of Black History Month. Some will acknowledge it while others will not and with the end of February near its time to consider the need for Black History 365. Many educational institutions will make a point to teach students about the same heroes year after year: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, George Washington Carver, and Benjamin Banneker. The efforts of historian, Carter G. Woodson can’t be overlooked. His idea to create Black History Month as a means for recognizing the achievements of Black Americans was necessary; however, it is time to acknowledge that a mere 28 days is not sufficient. The historical contributions in the areas of science, politics, medicine, and other fields demonstrate that African-Americans have added to the fabric of American life. According to black-inventor.com the following inventions were created by Black Americans:
In 1893 Thomas Stewart received a patent for the first mechanically clamping mop.
In 1872 Dr. Thomas Elkins received a patent for an updated “chamber commode.”
In 1892 George T. Sampson had the first patent for the clothes dryer.
In 188 Alexander Miles received a patent for automatic elevator doors that open and closed.
In 1939 Frederick M. Jones invented an automated ticketing machine that was used at movie theatres.
Henry Sampson invented the cell phone in 1971
People use these items in their lives everyday and these are just a few of the inventions created by African-Americans.
Many educators teach that African-American history started with slavery; however, if we dig deeper, we learn that forced enslavement is NOT the only defining moment in African-American history. There is, in fact, a history that starts on the continent of Africa. We learn that centuries ago, our African ancestors were kings and queens; yet, this is not taught in public schools and many African-American parents do not teach the specifics of this information to their children. There are over 100 African Kings and Queens in our history with stories that are not told.
There was King Hannibal who was said to be the greatest military leader and strategist of all time. His tactics are still studied and used today. Then you have Queen Amina, who was the first woman to become a queen in a male-dominated society. She expanded the territory of the Hausa people of north Africa to the largest borders in history. Next is King Mansa Musa who, at the time, was the richest man to ever walk this earth. He was a master businessman and economist in which he gained wealth through Mali’s supply of gold, salt and ivory. He would also become a major influence on the University of Timbuktu, the world’s first university and the major learning institution in the world.
Knowing the richness of this heritage is something to celebrate everyday! Besides, Black History Month is a time for everyone to celebrate not just African-Americans, and it should be celebrated everyday, not just one month a year – because it, too, is American History.
For more information about the inventions of Black Americans, check out www.blackinverntor.com.
Resources: www.black-inventor.com, www.blackpast.org, and http://www.famous-black-inventors.net