A Look Back to Look Forward

By Ashley Pugh

Although many of the stories about Black history tend to focus on struggle and fighting for freedom, there were moments of victory that should not be ignored.  Freedman’s towns were formed in the midst of the darkness of racial discrimination and mistreatment, providing hubs of community, growth and empowerment.  The Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma also known as “Black Wall Street,” was just one of the thriving areas which you can read more about here:

Wakanda may seem to be just a fictional city, but in a sense it was a reality in said flourishing areas that were self-sufficient and examples of excellence in community.  Seeing recent stories about the possible mass grave connected to the massacre that took place in the Greenwood District brought to mind the riots that took place in Detroit in 1967; however, it is also a reminder to me that the same spirit that built the powerhouses that were “Black Wall Street” and Detroit in their prime still live on in myself and others.

As we focus on Black history this month, look back over the obstacles you and your family have overcome and remember that the same strength that got you to today is still available for many brighter tomorrows.

Grace and Peace,



What Would Your Life Look Like Without These Items

Invented By African-Americans?

Thermostat & Temperature Control – Frederick Jones – His refrigeration equipment made it possible to transport blood and food during World War II.

Touch-Tone Telephone – Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson – Along with being the first African-American woman to earn a PhD from MIT, she gave us the portable fax machine, caller ID, call waiting, and the fiber-optic cable.

Modern Lock – Washington Martin – His patent was an improvement on the 4,000-year-old Chinese bolt.

Lawn Mower – John Albert Burr – The lawn mowers’ best makeover ever brought better traction, rotary blades, and allowed cutting closer to buildings.

Ironing Board – Sarah Boone – The reason we no longer iron across a piece of wood balanced on two chairs.

Home Security System – Marie Van Brittan Brown – Television has been part of home security ever since.

Gas Mask – Garret Morgan – It all started when he rescued trapped miners wearing a hood to protect his eyes from smoke and had tubes leading to the floor to draw clean air.

Gas Heating Furnace – Alice H. Parker – Forever changed the way we stay warm in the winter.

Clothes Dryer – George T. Sampson – Invented in 1892.

Automatic Gear Shift – Richard Spikes – Driving up a steep hill got a whole lot easier starting in 1932 because of this invention.

America’s First Clock – Benjamin Banneker – He was a farmer, mathematician, astronomer, land surveyor, and the subject of a Stevie Wonder song. He is also credited with helping to design the blueprints for Washington, D.C.

Blood Bank – Dr. Charles Drew – For his invention of a method of separating and storing plasma, allowing it to be dehydrated and banked for later use, Dr. Drew was the first black person awarded a doctorate at Columbia University.