This year, I want to acknowledge and celebrate black history month by highlighting African-Americans who contributed to our society or to me personally in a meaningful way. Each day I’ll post a picture of the person whom I’m highlighting (if I can find one) along with a picture of me doing something to honor him/her. This should be fun . . .
Honoring You Day 1: Zora Neale Hurston – Writer and activist.
Honoring You Day 2: Frederick McKinley Jones – inventor (he had 60 patents!) best known for developing refrigeration equipment used in food & blood transportation trucks. The man taught himself mechanical and electrical engineering, ya’ll! Makes me wonder what I’m doing with my life.
Honoring Frederick by eating broccoli and cheese tonight…..which was transported to my local grocery store in a truck with a cooling system. Couldn’t have done it without you, Fred!
Honoring You Day 4: Macon Bolling Allen – thought to be the first licensed African-American attorney in the country (1844). Honoring Macon by dusting off the ole’ degree. I wish Macon had found a way for us to avoid paying bar dues . . .
Honoring You Day 5: W. A. Martin – patented the lock (1889). The Chinese invented the bolt but W.A. improved the 4000 year old design. After 4,000 years anything can be improved, right? Couldn’t get in the door without you, W.A.! I also couldn’t find a picture of W.A. but his spirit lives on.
Honoring You Day 6: Alice Parker – invented and patented the gas heating furnace (1919). Alice, like me, did not like being cold! Honoring Alice by pretending to shiver next to this portable heater that’s not a furnace but works for the purposes of this picture 🙂
Honoring You Day 7: Wallace “Wally” Amos – we all know that Wally started Famous Amos cookies in 1975 but did you know he was the first African-American talent agent with the William Morris Agency? In fact, Marvin Gaye and Helen Reddy gave him the initial $25k to start his cookie business.#DidIHaveToBuyThe12Pack #Yes #IDidItForWally#NoJudging
Honoring You Day 8: The Greensboro 4 – college Freshmen from North Carolina AT & T who began the highly publicized peaceful sit-ins at Woolworths which eventually led to the store desegregating their lunch counters. Honoring them by sitting my black behind wherever I want 😉
Honoring you Day 9: Booker T. Washington – First “principal” and organizer of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), author of Up From Slavery (his ghostwritten autobiography), founder of the National Negro Business League, and first African-American featured on a US stamp. Booker was widely known for his public acceptance of white supremacy while advocating instead for economic equality, generating the disdain of W.E.B. Du Bois and others in the black community but galvanizing the black middle class. His argument: “the opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than to spend a dollar in an opera house.”
My local post office did not have a stamp with Booker on it, so I honored Booker’s legacy by leaving a little note for the person at Suntrust Bank who will be opening my car note payment. Hmph.
Honoring You Day 10: George Washington Carver – Inventor and botanist. George came up with three hundred uses for peanuts and lots of other uses for soybeans, pecans, and sweet potatoes to give southern planters alternatives to planting cotton (which stripped the soil of nitrogen) and to provide them with more nutritious foods. The more I read about George, the more I like this man! He befriended a woman named Mariah (that’s my name!) who encouraged him to find a way to educate himself (which he did at Simpson College and Iowa State Agricultural College and later taught at Tuskegee Institute for most of his career), he was an unapologetic Christian, and he didn’t actually “invent” peanut butter . . . which makes my picture eating peanut butter look ignorant . . . because I was. Now I know better and so do you!
Honoring You Day 11: Philip B. Downing – patented the street letter box (today’s mailbox) in 1891. I had to be real creepy at a stranger’s house to honor Philip today. The things we do for black history….
Honoring You Day 12: Dr. William C. Davis – research chemist and chemistry professor who invented (or improved) instant mashed potatoes, soft serve ice cream, and organic wood glue. Not the biggest fan of instant mashed potatoes but anything for you, Will. Fun fact: his brother is iconic actor Ossie Davis
Honoring You Day 13: Richard B. Spikes – invented a whole list of things including the automatic gear shift and the beer keg tap. Didn’t have a beer keg in the house so I went with what I had…… Thanks Richard!
Honoring You Day 14: Norma Joyce Moody – inventor of my mother! It’s a perfect day to honor the loves of my life – the matriarchs of my family who have taught me what it is to be a wife, mother, Christian, professional, happy woman who operates in authenticity and love.
Honoring You Day 15: Annie Turnbo Malone – used her proficiency in Chemistry to create hair growing and straightening products for black women during the early 20th century. She patented the hot comb (though she was not the first to develop the tool), built a factory and beauty school that employed Madame C.J. Walker among others, and grew to be a well respected philanthropist and leader in the St. Louis area. The topic of hair has been politicized and, in the case of black men and women, often ostracized. But today, I honor Annie. It takes a village of products to make my hair happen. Thanks Annie! #didnotwakeuplikethis#tookallday #beingblackishardwork
Honoring You Day 16: Jan Matzeliger – invented and patented a shoe lasting machine (the process of attaching the top of the shoe to the sole) which improved the shoe making process by 300% and decreased the cost of shoes by 50%. Honoring Jan by wearing my current FAVORITE pair of shoes that may have been unaffordable (or not cute) if it had not been for Jan.