There is a poem entitled, “I, too” written by Langston Hughes. The poem is as follows:
“I, too, sing America.”
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed———
I, too, am America.
Langston Hughes, “I, Too” from The collected Works of Langston Hughes 2002.
Whenever I am troubled by the sign of the times as it relates to Black America, I comfort myself with how well the African adapted after he was brought over from his African homeland. If a witness were yet alive, he would probably argue that he did not EASILY adapt, nor was he WELL adapted. In his home land he was a king; in America he became a slave in a foreign land. How difficult it must have been to adjust to the adaptation. From king to slave; from African to “negra”, to slave to nigger, to African American... and so on.
I have studied what the African American has contributed to America. The numbers of inventions are startling. The recognition of all of the African slave’s inventions was not given to him because in the earliest times, these inventions were created out of a desire to make slave work easier. Even later, after the African slave was emancipated, he continued in that application of “creative genius” and continued in creating many inventions that are widely used today.
The ingenious abilities demonstrated by the slaves came from the need to get a job done. Consequently, many times, credit for inventions was given to the so-called slave owners, if credit was given at all.
When you think about it, the “slave’s” ingenious capabilities were borne out of the desire and need to make work lighter and easier. After all, they were the ones doing the work. From 1619 to 1865 the African was held in captivity. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the Thirteenth Amendment, ratified in 1865, ended the institution of slavery. Many other inventions were created with legitimacy in assignment of credit for inventions, later.
It stands to reason that the ones who were doing the work would come up with an easier way to do it. Although the inventions were not recognized until after slavery, it stands to reason that some inventions were used during slavery but were not given credit until after slavery was abolished. Think of how many other inventors who may have never received the credit deserved.
Let’s take a look at some of those inventions. They may surprise you.
John Standard Refrigerator. #455,891 (patent Jul 14, 1891)
Thomas Carrington Gas Stove. #180,323 (patent Jul 25, 1876)
George T. Sampson. Clothes Dryer. #476,416 (patent) Jun. 07, 1892
Willis Johnson. Egg Beater. # 292,821 (patent) Feb 05, 1884
Thomas Stewart. Mop. #499,402. (patent) Jun 13, 1893
Ancient Egypt (KHEMET). Paper
Ned Cotton Scraper
And there are many more...
Other inventions, after slavery, include the lawn mower, bicycle frame, lantern, horseshoe, typewriting machine, refrigerator, gas stove, electric lamp. Then the ironing board, the telephone transmitter, phonograph, lawn mower, traffic signal, guitar, folding bed, automatic transmission gear shift, air conditioning unit, fountain pen, elevator, curtain rod, chamber commode. CELEBRATE OUR HERITAGE!
That heritage is rich and it keeps getting RICHER, when we strive together and stay together for the Glory of the One Who created us!
We, too, CELEBRATE America!
Barbara W. Green