A snapshot of black history

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Guest column by Marcus Dixon of Radcliff

Most of the inventions and contributions of blacks in America are  hidden and suppressed by mainstream media and school curriculums. I just wanted to give acknowledgement and hopefully educate some on the significant contributions blacks have had on America’s enhancement to greatness.

First of all, let’s talk about the Tuskegee Airman. The unit lost only 68 of its numbers in World War II and were paramount in escorting bombers to their objectives and returning them safely. The numbers are remarkable

Crispus Attucks, circa 1723-March 5, 1770, was the first American to die for the Revolutionary cause: “The first to defy, the first to die.” Attucks was shot in the Boston Massacre, a skirmish leading up to the Revolutionary War.

It would take years for me to give you all the pertinent information about these pioneers of inventions, medicine, political offices, education and all facets of American culture and history, but I will give you a short synopsis.

  • Blanche Kelso Bruce, March 1, 1841-1898, was the first African-American who served a full term in the U.S. Senate.
  • George Washington Carver, 1865?-1943, was an American scientist, educator, humanitarian and former slave. Carver developed hundreds of products from peanuts, sweet potatoes, pecans and soybeans. His discoveries greatly improved the agricultural output and the health of Southern farmers.
  • Dr. Guion Stewart Bluford Jr., Nov. 22, 1942, was the first African-American in space. He was a NASA astronaut.
  • Shirley Chisholm, Nov. 30, 1924-Jan. 1, 2005, was the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress.
  • Dr. Charles Richard Drew, 1904-1950, was an American medical doctor and surgeon who started the idea of a blood bank and a system for the long-term preservation of blood plasma. He found that plasma kept longer than whole blood. His ideas revolutionized the medical profession and have saved many lives.
  • Mae C. Jemison, born Oct. 17, 1956, was the first African-American woman in space.
  • Alabama-born Percy Julian held a bachelor’s degree from DePauw University, a master’s degree from Harvard University and a doctorate from the University of Vienna. His most famous achievement is synthesis of cortisone, which is used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
  • Elijah McCoy, circa 1844-1929, was a mechanical engineer and inventor. McCoy’s high-quality industrial inventions — especially his steam engine lubricator — were the basis for the expression “the real McCoy,” meaning the real, authentic or high-quality thing.

We have role models and leaders beyond the imagination, I just wish we could share the greatness with our youth in schools and colleges to inform the world of all the great contributions black Americans have made to America and around the world.

Marcus Dixon is a Brother to Brother volunteer. He lives in Radcliff.