Because we are still in the month of February, my post today is again dedicated to all the black men and women of our time, who have immensely contributed to the establishment and progress of our society and world today. We listen to a lot of news, however, we do not hear a lot, if anything, or spend time acknowledging, educating ourselves on black history, which ultimately is the world’s history too. We need to be aware of the contributions made by African Americans and the African Diaspora in our world, most specifically the US and Canada for the month of February. Honour to whom honour is due.
Henceforth, I decided to post a second part of my BHM inspired outfit, mixed with facts around this special month dear to my heart.
Fact #1: William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (W.EB. Du Bois), was a civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, educator, historian, writer, editor, poet and the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. The following year, he enrolled as a doctoral student at one of Berlin’s oldest universities, Friedrich-Wilhelms University (now Humboldt University). He cared about Africa and was committed to the cause of African prosperity. In 1961, he moved to Ghana and started working on the Encyclopedia Africana to serve as a resource on Africans and people of African descent throughout the world. He wrote 21 books, edited 15 others, published more than 100 essays and articles, including The Souls of Black Folk.
Fact #2: Alexander Miles, an African-American inventor, created an automatic device to open and close elevator doors. Early elevators were different from the mostly automated devices we’re familiar with today. Passengers had to manually open and close the elevator doors, as well as the door leading to the elevator shaft. If anyone forgot to close the shaft door, other passengers could fall down the shaft when expecting to step into the elevator. Miles invented a mechanism that triggered the shaft doors to open and close along with the elevator doors, making the ride safer. Because of his invention, we are able to enjoy this modern luxury.
Fact #3: Born in Kentucky in 1877, Garrett Morgan is the inventor of something many utilize everyday, the traffic signal. He created this after witnessing many accidents on busy urban intersections. In addition to this, he created the gas mask which grew in popularity when it was used to aid workers after an underground explosion.
Fact #4: Buffalo Soldiers— a name given by Native-American plainsmen—were the all-black regiments created in the U.S. Army beginning in 1866. These soldiers received second-class treatment and were often given the worst military assignments, but had a lowest desertion rate than their white counterparts. More than 20 Buffalo Soldiers received the Medal of Honor for their service. The oldest living Buffalo Soldier, Sergeant Mark Matthews, died at the age of 111 in 2005, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Fact #5: Dr. Patricia Bath, a laser scientist and the first woman ophthalmologist to be appointed to the faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine Jules Stein Eye Institute, is an innovative research scientist and advocate for blindness prevention, treatment, and cure. She invented the Laserphaco Probe, a tool that corrects cataracts during eye surgery. Cataracts are an eye condition that can lead to blindness, and Bath’s tool provided a less invasive, safer method of removing them. When she patented the laser in 1988, Bath became the first black female doctor to secure a medical patent.
Fact #6: Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson was the first black female to receive a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is the first black female president of a major technological institute (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). However, she also has a staggering list of inventions to her credit. Her experiments with theoretical physics are responsible for many telecommunications developments including the touch tone telephone, the portable fax, caller ID, call waiting, and the fiber optic cables that make overseas phone calls crystal clear.
I hope these facts, along with those in my previous post about BHM have given you great insights and understanding when it comes to BHM. I like to remember what Maya Angelou said: “[this] history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived; but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” Let our awareness and understanding enable us to create and celebrate a progressive, sustainable and cognizant future together.
With love and gratitude,
African print Head Wrap and Top: Gift from my aunt 🙂