What better way to begin a new year than to ... well ... begin anew! This can often mean remembering to honor that which blesses us. Clearly, each of us contributes to the whole of our rich world. Too often, however, we fail to recognize such. I would be remiss, or not myself, if I fail to do so when the ideal opportunity was given me by a client.
With his permission, I am reprinting an article below. According to Mr. Thomas, a formidable black woman during Mr. Thomas' young years shared a bit of history with him. This history was conveyed through a story about "a little boy named Theo." The author's name is unknown. It is this story, full of history and pride, I share with you, printed exactly as it was shared with me, here:
"What if there were no black people?"
This is a story of a little boy name Theo, who woke up one morning and asked God, "What if there were no Black people in the world?" Well, God thought about that for a moment and then said, "Son, follow me around today in the world. Get dressed and we will get started."
Theo ran to his room to put on his clothes and shoes. But there were no shoes, and his clothes were all wrinkled. He looked for an iron, but when he reached for the ironing board, it was no longer there. You see, Sarah Boone, a Black woman invented the ironing board and Jan Matzelinger, a Black man, invented the show lasting machine. "Oh well," God said, "Go and do your hair."
Theo ran in his room to comb his hair but the comb was not there. You see, Walter Sammons, a Black man, invented the comb. Theo decided to just brush his hair, but the brush was gone. You see, Lydia O. Newman, a Black female, invented the brush. Well, he was a sight. No shoes, wrinkled clothes, hair a mess without the hair care inventions of Madame C. J. Walker, ... Well, you get the picture.
God told Theo. "Let's do the chores around the house and then take a trip to the grocery store." Theo's job was to sweep the floor. He swept and swept and swept. When he reached for the dustpan, it was not there. You see, Lloyd P. Ray, a Black man, invented the dustpan. So he swept his pile of dirt over in the corner and left it there. You see, Thomas W. Stewart, a Black man, invented the mop. Theo thought to himself, "I'm not having any luck." "Well, son," God said. "We should wash the clothes and prepare a list for the grocery store." When he was finished, Theo went to place the clothes in the dryer but it was not there. You see, George T. Sampson, a Black man, invented the clothes dryer.
Theo got a pencil and some paper to prepare the list for the market but noticed that the pencil lead was broken, as well, he was out of luck because John Love, a Black man, invented the pencil sharpener. He reached for a pen but it was not there because William Purvis, a Black man, invented the fountain pen. As a matter of fact, Lee Burridge invented the type writing machine, and W. A. Lavette, the printing press. So they decided to head out to the market. Well, when Theo opened the door, he noticed the grass was as high as he was tall. You see, the lawnmower was invented by John Burr, a Black man.
They made their way over to the car and found that it just wouldn't go. You see, Robert Spikes, a Black man, invented the automatic gear shift and Joseph Gammel invented the supercharge system for internal combustion engines. They noticed that the few cars that were running into each other and having wrecks because there were no traffic signals. You see, Garrett A. Morgan, a Black man, invented the traffic light. Well, it was getting late, so they walked to the market, got their groceries and returned home.
Just when they were about to put away the milk, eggs, and butter, they noticed the refrigerator was gone. You see, John Standard, a Black man, invented the refrigerator. So they put the food on the counter.
By this time, they noticed it was getting mighty cold. Theo went to turn up the heat and what do you know? Alice Parker, a Black female, invented the heating furnace. Even in the summer time they would have been out of luck because Frederick Jones, a Black man, invented the air conditioner.
It was almost time for Theo's father to arrive home. He usually took the bus but there was no bus because the precursor was the electric trolley, invented by another Black man, Elbert T. Robinson. He usually took the elevator from his office on the 20th floor but there was no elevator because Alexander Miles, a Black man, invented the elevator. He usually dropped off the office mail at a nearby mailbox but it was no longer there because Phillip Downing, a Black man, invented the letter drop mailbox, and William Barry invented the postmarking and canceling machine.
Theo sat the kitchen table with his head in his hands. When his father arrived, he asked, "Why are you sitting in the dark?" Why?? Because Lewis Howard Latimer, a Black man, invented the filament within the light bulb.
Theo quickly learned what it would be like if there were no Black people in the world. Not to mention if he were ever sick and needed blood. Charles Drew, a Black scientist, found a way to preserve and store blood which led to his starting the world's first blood bank. And what if a family member to have surgery? This would not have been possible without Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, a Black doctor, who performed the first open heart surgery.
So if you ever wonder, like Theo, where we would be without Blacks? Well, it's pretty plain to see, we could very well still be in the dark!!!
~ Author Unknown
Thank you, Mr. Thomas, for sharing this wealth of history with us!!!
I invite you to pick up where this publication stops. The contributions made to this world by Black folk are far too rich and extensive to include them all here. As a matter of fact, some of the inventors identified above, are credited with other great inventions.
Do not be defined by or limited to the very strategically modified and edited versions of history taught in schools throughout the nation.
Please, know your history -- as it really is!
I am a professional with a diverse background and a unique blend of expertise.