In Celebration of Our History! by V.Lyn
African American history is both rich and tragic in this country. Our contributions to America is seen, felt and heard in virtually every American experience. Unfortunately many people, sadly this includes Blacks and African Americans, are unaware of all that we have contributed to the growth of American society. Many young people have little idea of the Black experience in this country, of the sacrifices made by past generations so that they could have opportunities that they themselves did not have. Many are unaware of the many contributions and achievements made by our race . Many young and old Black and African Americans have forgotten our connection to Africa and to her people and sadly many Africans seemed to have distanced themselves from us as well.
Our history in this country is one of slavery, antebellum, Black Codes, Jim Crow, a government sanctioned re-enslavement practice that lasted in to the early 50’s, segregation, civil rights and continued oppression that has ramifications to this day but it is also one of contribution to this country in the way of inventions, building of Americas infrastructure, agriculture, military and economy. We have made substantial contributions in science, the arts, and every other American endeavor, in essence we have made a large impact in Americas growth. And while our ancestors suffered many hardships still they persevered, from being the slaves, to janitor and porter, maids, teachers, congressmen, professors, ship builders, scientists, doctors, construction workers, business men and women, preachers, activist, to the penultimate…President. They fought to be educated and for their children to be educated, understanding that education is the ultimate POWER and is surely the pathway to freedom. Education is something they were denied because white society then understood that education was the pathway to true EQUALITY, and no man could be the slave to another once educated, even if he wore shackles his mind would forever be free to roam, to soar, and he would never be satisfied to be humbled to another. Our ancestors and our mothers and fathers stayed strong and steadfast so that one day there could be a President by the name of Barack Hussein Obama, whose lineage is both American and African and undeniable Black and it is both a shame and sacriliege when we more than any other group in America squanders it.
In 1834 Henry Blair was the second African-American to receive a patent for his invention of a corn seed planter and a cotton planter in 1836.
Charles R. Drew an African-American surgeon invented the first large-scale blood bank.
Lewis Latimer’s invention of the process for making carbon filaments allowed Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb burn for hours and not the few minutes it had previously burned.
Sojourner Truth was an African American preacher who was born a slave and was freed in 1827. As a preacher she fought for the abolition of slavery and for women’s rights. During the US Civil War, she helped black Union soldiers obtain supplies and also worked as a counselor for the National Freedon Relief Association.
In 1849 Harriet Tubman a slave in Maryland escaped North to freedom. Afterwards she assisted hundreds of slaves flee to escape to freedom via the Underground Railroad. She also served as a spy for the Union Army.
In 1863 African American soldiers of the volunteer 14th Negro Regiment bravely advanced acrossed an open field at the Battle of Port Hudson, Louisiana. General Banks said in the his official report; “Whatever doubt may have existed heretofore as to the efficiency of organizations of this character, the history of this days proves…in this class of troops effective supporters and defenders.”
The African American 54th Massachussetts Infantry lead the assault on a fortified confederate position in Fort Wagner, South Carolina on July 18th, 1863, their heroism was widely hailed.
During the Revolutionary war many Blacks hoping to gain their freedom volunteered their service to the war effort.
Madam C. J. Walker (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919) was an inventor, businesswoman and self-made millionaire and developed hair and beauty care products for African American women.
The first African American served during WWII his name was Brigadeer General Benjamin O. Davis Sr..
During WWII despite the racism that Blacks faced at home and in the military, which was still segregated, over 2.5 million men and women volunteered to serve in every branch of the military and to fight for this country.
The Tuskegee Airmen flew 1,500 missions over Europe during WWII never losing a single bomber pilot they were assigned to protect.
The African American 761st Tank Battalion served during WWII. They were known as the “Black Panthers” due to their proud insignia.
These are just a few of the remarkable people in our race who have contributed to the making of this country. Their contributions as well as those silent achievements and successes of the everyday men and women of color who went to their jobs, raised families, pushed their children to achieve and reminded them of the sacrifices made by others on their behalf, taught their kids the importance of education that it is PARAMOUNT for true success, they afforded us opportunities that we should not take lightly and should never forget.
To All my Brothers and Sisters out there A Proud Black History Month!