Category: Males

February 13, 1936- Lee Wesley Gibson

GM – FBF – You give workers only as much as they basically need to survive. Thriving is something that management should do and that workers don’t have a right to do.

Remember – “The fact that all of the black porters were called GEORGE was one of least things that I had to take doing my job” – Lee Wesley Gibson (May 21, 1910 – June 25, 2016)

Today in our History – February 13, 1936 –

At 101 years old, Lee Wesley Gibson of Keatchie, Louisiana is the oldest surviving member of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Gibson served as a pullman porter for 38 years. Back in the day, the job of pullman porter was considered a middle-class position, something Gibson, who was raised by a poor single mom, took pride in.

As a teenager, Gibson migrated with his mother and sibling to Marshall, Texas. At first he desired a career in tailoring, but couldn’t afford secondary trade school. He took odd jobs in Los Angeles to make ends meet before getting the chance to work as a pullman porter in 1936 at the recommendation of his church deacon.

Equipped with the unique style and poise that a pullman porter must have, Gibson was hired on the spot.

Like many porters, Gibson would rub arms with celebrities like Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Louis Armstrong. Armstrong would catch Gibson’s train often after leaving his Vegas performances and the two would have many conversations.

Gibson retired from working in 1974, though the pullman porters were discontinued in 1968. At the centennial age of 100, Gibson is a picture of health. He doesn’t take any medication except vitamin C, has decent vision and still drives a car. Outliving his first wife and son, Gibson has an 85-year-old girlfriend and three daughters, ranging from 65-78 years old.

Though he didn’t attend tailoring school, Gibson still managed to sew his daughter’s school uniforms and formal dresses. His family has described him as a supportive father and grandfather. Now his daughters take care of their father.

His life as a Pullman Porter is immortalized in photos at the A. Phillip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum in Chicago. Research more about the black sleeping car Pullman porters this American story ad share with your babies. Make it a champion day! I will be facilitating a sales training class all this week and will not be able to answer any posts. Make it a champion day!

February 9, 1909- Paul Laurence Dunbar

GM – FBF – Life is going to give you just what you put in it. Put your whole heart in everything you do, and pray, then you can wait.

Remember – I know why the caged bird sings, ah me, When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,- When he beats his bars and would be free; It is not a carol of joy or glee, But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core, But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings- I know why the caged bird sings! – Paul Laurence Dunbar

Today in our History – February 9, Paul Laurence Dunbar passes away. He was an African American poet and author born on June 27, 1872. His parents had been slaves during the American Civil War but had been freed by the time of his birth. Dunbar was born in Ohio, and his parents separated shortly after his birth. Dunbar began writing poetry as early as six years of age. He was an avid poet and started publicly reciting his poetry at the age of nine. His mother assisted him in his school work, and learned to read and write solely to aid her son’s education. She often read the Bible to him and hoped that he would eventually become a minister. Dunbar was the only African American student at his high school. He was a well-liked and popular student, and was the head of the school’s literary society, editor of the school newspaper and a member of the debate club.

In 1888, at the age of 16, Dunbar published two poems titled “Our Martyred Soldiers” and “On the River” in a Dayton based newspaper called “The Herald”. Two years later, he wrote and edited the first edition of a weekly African American paper called “The Tattler”. It was printed by his high school classmates Wilbur and Orville Wright, who would go on to invent the first airplane. The paper only lasted for six weeks but it gave Dunbar good exposure to the literary world. Paul Laurence Dunbar completed his high school education in 1891 and had hoped to study law. However, being unable to afford it at the time, he took a job as an elevator operator instead, drawing a salary of $4 per week. He continued to write poetry and asked his friends, the Wright brothers, to publish his book of poems, who in turn referred him to United Brethren Publishing House. His first book of poems, titled “Oak and Ivy” was published by them in 1893. He would sell subsidized copies of the book to passengers in the elevator in order to recover the cost of investment.

His work caught the attention of another poet James Whitcomb Riley, among others, who offered to put him through college. However, Dunbar wanted to focus exclusively on writing. His work began to gain popularity and he was invited to read at literary gatherings. In 1896, Dunbar published his second book of poetry titled “Majors and Minors”. Despite the successful sales of his books and his rising popularity, he was still under financial duress and was heavily indebted. His second book received positive reviews in literary circles and brought him national acclaim. He then published his first two books in collective form under the title “Lyrics of Lowly Life” with an introduction by the acclaimed critic William Dean Howells. Dunbar also wrote in conventional English in other poetry and novels. Since the late 20th century, scholars have become more interested in these other works. Suffering from tuberculosis, which then had no cure, Dunbar died in Dayton Ohio at the age of 33. Research more about this American Hero and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

February 8, 1925- Marcus Garvey

GM – FBF – Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!

Remember – “I have no desire to take all black people back to Africa; there are blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there.” – Marcus Garvey

Today in our History – February 8, 1925 – Marcus Garvey sent to Atlanta Prison. Garvey Was a Political Prisoner! On this day February 8th, Marcus Garvey entered federal prison in Atlanta. Students staged strike at Fisk University to protest policies of white administration.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, was a Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements.

He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League.

He founded the Black Star Line, part of the Back-to-Africa movement, which promoted the return of the African diaspora to their Ancestral Land!

Marcus Garvey Letter From Atlanta Prison

Fellow Men of the Negro Race Greetings:
I am delighted to inform you, that your humble servant is as happy in suffering for you and our cause as is possible under the circumstances of being viciously outraged by a group of plotters who have connived to do their worst to humiliate you through me, in fight for real emancipation and African Redemption.

I do not want at this time to write anything that would make it difficult for you to meet the opposition of your enemy without my assistance. Suffice to say that the history of the outrage shall form a splendid chapter in the history of Africa redeemed. When black man will no longer be under the heels of others, but have a civilization and culture of their own.

The whole affair is a disgrace, and the whole black world knows it. We shall not forget. Our day may be fifty, a hundred or two hundred years ahead, let us watch, work, and pray, for the civilization of injustice is bound to crumble and bring destruction down upon the heads of the unjust.

My work is just begun, and when the history of my suffering is complete, then the future generations of the Negro will have in their hands the guide by which they shall know the “sins” of the twentieth century. I, and I know you, too, believe in time, and we shall wait patiently for two hundred years, if need be, to face our enemies through our prosperity.

All I have I have given you. I have sacrificed my home and my loving wife for you. I entrust her to your charge, to protect and defend her in my absence. She is the bravest little woman I know. She has suffered and sacrificed with me for you, therefore, please do not desert her at this dismal hour, when she stands alone. I left her penniless and helpless to face the world, because I gave you all, but her courage is great, and I know she will hold up for you and me.

After my enemies are satisfied, in life or death I shall come back to you to serve even as I have served before. In life I shall be the same; in death I shall be a terror to the foes of Negro liberty. If death has power, then count on me in death to be the real Marcus Garvey I would like to be. If I may come in an earthquake, or a cyclone, or a plague, or pestilence, or as God would have me, then be assure that I would never desert you and make your enemies triumph over you.

Would I not go to hell a million times for you? Would I not like Macbeth’s ghost, walk the earth forever for you? Would I not lose the whole world and eternity for you? Would I not cry forever before the footstool of the Lord Omnipotent for you? Would I not die a million deaths for you? Then, why be sad? Cheer up, and be assure that if it takes a million years the sins of our enemies shall visit the millionth generation of those that hinder and oppress us.

If I die in Atlanta my work shall then only begin, but I shall live, in the physical or spiritual to see the day of Africa’s glory. When I am dead wrap the mantle of the Red, Black and Green around me, for in the new life I shall rise with God’s grace and blessing to lead the millions up the heights of triumph with the colors that you well know. Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you, for, with God’s grace I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for liberty, freedom and life.

The civilization of today as gone drunk and crazy with its power and by such it seeks through injustice, fraud and lies to crush the unfortunate. But if I am apparently crushed by the system of influence and misdirected power, my cause shall rise again to plague the conscience of the corrupt. For this again I am satisfied, and for you, I repeat, I am glad to suffer and even die. Again, I say cheer up, for better days are ahead. I shall write the history that will inspire the millions that are coming and leave the posterity of our enemies to reckon with the host for the deeds of their fathers.

With God’s dearest blessings, I leave you for a while. Research more of this American activist and share with your babies I will be speaking at the Fulton Leadership Academy in Atlanta, GA. today and will not be able to respond to any more posts. Make it a champion day!

February 7, 1926- Carter G. Woodson

GM – FBF – Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.

Remember – “When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.” – Carter G. Woodson

Today in our History – February 7, 1926 – Carter G. Woodson leads the way – Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history. The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.

That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent.

Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.

The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909, the centennial anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.

President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Research more about the begining of this National event and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

February 6, 1958- “The Nate King Cole Show”

GM – FBF – We who follow the Honorable Elijah Muhammad feel that when you try and pass integration laws here in America, forcing white people to pretend that they are accepting black people, what you are doing is making white people act in a hypocritical way.

Remember – “The Supreme Court is having a hard time integrating schools. What chance do I have to integrate audiences?” – Nat King Cole

Today in our History – February 6, 1958 – “The Nate King Cole Show” – Season One – Show number 13. “For 13 months, I was the Jackie Robinson of television”, wrote Nat King Cole in a revealing 1958 article for Ebony magazine. “After a trail-blazing year that shattered all the old bug-a-boos about Negroes on TV, I found myself standing there with the bat on my shoulder. The men who dictate what Americans see and hear didn’t want to play ball.”

The conventional wisdom about The Nat King Cole Show is that it was the first network TV program hosted by an African American, that NBC cancelled it after it failed to attract a sponsor, and that potential advertisers were reluctant to sign on for fear that their products would be boycotted by disgruntled Southerners. While based in fact, none of these statements is exactly true.

At the time of his show’s premiere, Nat Cole was not merely one of the highest paid black people in America but one of the most successful entertainers in the world, period. His gentle, romantic style of singing endeared him to millions, and his record sales were phenomenal. There was every reason to believe that a TV show starring Nat King Cole would be a huge hit.

There was just one slight problem: with legal segregation still in full force in the South and de facto segregation in much of the rest of the country, TV was, with few exceptions, the exclusive domain of white people. The rare television images of African Americans tended to be dumb stereotypes like those seen on Amos ‘n Andy and Beulah. Even if some in the industry might have been inclined to allow blacks to present themselves as intelligent and sophisticated, there was no telling how the audience might react.

Black hosts had been tried before. Hazel Scott (in 1950) and Billy Daniels (in 1952) had each starred in a short-lived and quickly forgotten variety show. But Cole’s program was the first hosted by a star of his magnitude, and expectations were high.

It was obvious that, if Nat were successful, it would open a lot of doors for other African American entertainers. There was a whole host of big stars, both black and white, who wanted to help and were willing to appear on the show for union scale. But despite the stars and the show’s high entertainment value, decent ratings failed to materialize.

Had the ratings been higher, national sponsors might have been willing to support the show. But the combination of a relatively small audience and skittishness about viewer reaction kept them away. While crediting NBC with keeping the show on the air, Cole felt advertisers should have had more guts. “When we went on the air last summer,” he wrote, “two big companies were on the verge of buying. But, at the last moment, somebody said, ‘No, we won’t take a chance.’ Two other sponsors turned us down cold. I won’t call their names, but they were big, very big. They turned us down and then lost money on inferior shows.”

Carter products, makers of Arrid deodorant and Rise shaving cream, backed the show for a short time but soon pulled out. In the absence of a national sponsor, NBC put together a patchwork of local ones, including Rheingold Beer in New York, Gallo and Thunderbird Wines in Los Angeles, Regal Beer in New Orleans, and Coca Cola in Houston. But despite a major push, Cole and NBC just couldn’t dispel the notion among big advertisers that viewers would object to seeing blacks and whites on an equal footing and that it would hurt the companies’ sales – despite the fact that none of the local sponsors had had a problem. “Madison Avenue [is] the center of the advertising industry,” Cole wrote, “and their big clients didn’t want their products associated with Negroes…Ad Alley thinks it’s still a white man’s world.”

It seems silly today, but Cole had to be careful how he related to his guest stars. In the best show biz tradition, he liked getting physical with his pals, often putting a friendly arm around them. But he was mindful never to touch the white women on the show. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that in some parts of the country, even at that late date, that would have been a lynching offense. Remember, it had been just two years since the murder of Emmett Till.

That Cole was aware of the situation is evident in this carefully worded statement: “We proved that a Negro star could play host to whites, including women, and we proved it in such good taste that no one was offended…I didn’t bend over backwards, but I didn’t go out of my way to offend anyone.” (Black women were another story. His flirting with Eartha Kitt on the October 8, 1957 telecast got so steamy that, at the close of the show, he felt the need to speak directly to his wife, assuring her it was all in good fun.)

Despite the controversy behind the scenes, there was little evidence of it on the show itself. Viewers simply saw and heard some of the best entertainment television had to offer. Reviewing the premiere, Variety foresaw “many pleasant quarter-hours to come” and mentioned “the topgrade quality that’s going into the series.” The New York Times called the show “a refreshing musical diversion” with a host possessing “an amiable personality that comes across engagingly on the television screen.”

While NBC was willing to keep the show going, Cole decided to call it quits after fourteen months on the air. Two factors influenced his decision. First, the network wanted to move the show from Tuesdays at 7:30 to Saturdays at 7:00. Nat felt the move wouldn’t help his ratings, since in some areas, the program would air at 6:00 or even 5:00. The other reason was that he didn’t feel comfortable asking his guest stars to work for practically nothing. “You can wear out your welcome,” he commented. “People get tired if you never stop begging.”

When the show folded, Cole and NBC expressed some optimism about reviving it if a national sponsor could be found, but that never happened. The next African American to try hosting a program was Sammy Davis Jr. in 1966, but low ratings forced him off the air after less than four months. It wasn’t until The Flip Wilson Show came along in 1970 that a variety show hosted by a black entertainer became an unqualified success.

But Nat King Cole was the trail blazer. “I was the pioneer, the test case, the Negro first,” he wrote. “I didn’t plan it that way, but it was obvious to anyone with eyes to see that I was the only Negro on network television with his own show. On my show rode the hopes and fears and dreams of millions of people.” It was a dream deferred, but one that eventually came true.

The prejudices of the era in which Cole lived hindered his potential for even greater stardom. His talents extended beyond singing and piano playing: he excelled as a relaxed and humorous stage personality, and he was also a capable actor, evidenced by his performances in the films Istanbul (1957), China Gate (1957), Night of the Quarter Moon (1959), and Cat Ballou (1965); he also played himself in The Nat “King” Cole Musical Story (1955) and portrayed blues legend W.C. Handy in St. Louis Blues (1958). His daughter Natalie was also a popular singer who achieved her greatest chart success in 1991 with “Unforgettable,” an electronically created duet with her late father. Research more about this American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

February 5, 1884- Willis Johnson

GM – FBF – We’re going to win Sunday, I’ll guarantee you.

Remember – “African-American assistant coaches in the NFL, were so important to the progress of this league.” – Tony Dungy – All Pro Player, Super Bowl Winning Coach and Hall of Fame Member.

Today in our History – Febuary 4, 2007 – Well before the opening kickoff, it is already clear that Super Bowl XLI will be one for the history books.

That’s because both competing coaches – Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears’ Lovie Smith – are of African-American heritage. On Sunday night, one of them will become the first black coach to win a Super Bowl.

That’s not just a piece of sports trivia. It is part of the civil rights movement, an important chapter of American history that for many will outshine even the most amazing gridiron heroics.

As devastating as their 29-17 Super Bowl XLI loss to the Colts was for the proud Chicago Bears, it was worse for their coach: Lovie Smith will forever be remembered as the first African-American coach to lose a Super Bowl.

During his remarkable seven-year run with the Colts and its star quarterback, Peyton Manning, Dungy turned the franchise into a perennial Super Bowl contender. The Vince Lombardi trophy finally came Dungy’s way on February 4, 2007, when the Colts defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, 29-17, in Miami.

The victory made Dungy the first African American to coach a Super Bowl–winning club. It also made him just the third person in NFL history to win a title as a player and as a head coach.

Following the 2008 season, and after 31 seasons patrolling an NFL sideline, Dungy retired from coaching. Tony Dungy, former NFL head coach, Inducted to the 2016 Class Pro Football Hall of Fame. Research more about African – Americans and the Super Bowl and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

February 2, 1897- Alfred L. Cralle

GM – FBF – Knowledge through proper education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

Remember – People needed an easier way to deliver Ice Cream to the dish, so I made everyone happy but no one ever said thank you in all these years. – Alfred Louis Cralle

Today in our History – February 2, 1897 – Alfred L. Cralle (1866–1920) was an African American businessman and inventor who was best known for inventing the ice cream scoop in 1897. Cralle was born on September 4, 1866, in Kenbridge, Lunenburg County, Virginia, just after the end of the American Civil War. He attended local schools and worked for his father in the carpentry trade as a young man. During that period, he also became interested in mechanics. 

Cralle was sent to Washington D.C. where he attended Wayland Seminary, a branch of the National Theological Institute, one of a number of schools founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society immediately after the Civil War to help educate newly freed African Americans.

After attending the school for a few years, Cralle moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked as a porter at a drugstore and at a hotel. While working at the hotel, he developed the idea of the ice cream scoop. It came to him when he noticed ice cream servers having difficulty trying to get the popular confection desired by the customer into the cone they were usually holding. The ice cream tended to stick to spoons and ladles, usually requiring the server to use two hands and at least two separate implements to serve customers.

Cralle responded to that problem by creating a mechanical device now known as the ice cream scoop. He applied for and received a patent on February 2, 1897. The thirty-year-old was granted U.S. Patent #576395.

Cralle’s invention, originally called an Ice Cream Mold and Disher, was designed to be able to keep ice cream and other foods from sticking. It was easy to operate with one hand. Since the Mold and Disher was strong and durable, effective, and inexpensive, it could be constructed in almost any desired shape, such as cone or a mound, with no delicate parts that could break or malfunction.

Cralle was also a successful Pittsburgh business promoter as well. When local black investors created the Afro-American Financial, Accumulating, Merchandise, and Business Association in Pittsburgh, he was selected as assistant manager.

He did not become famous for his inventing of his ice cream scoop. It spread widely so quickly that people soon forgot or never knew Cralle as the inventor. Thus he never profited from his invention.

Married and with three children, Cralle experienced a number of personal tragedies. His wife and one of his daughters died in 1918 of a communicable disease. In 1920 he lost his only son to another disease. With their deaths, Cralle’s only surviving immediate family member was daughter Anna Cralle, born in 1910. Later in 1920, Cralle himself was killed in an automobile accident in Pittsburgh. Research more about this great American and how one of America’s favorite deserts became easier to enjoy and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 31 1324- Mansa Musa

GM – FBF – For this is the mark of a wise and upright man, not to rail against the gods in misfortune.

Remember – “People who fear me should because if they are not up right in all things, I will teach them or destroy them. – Mansa Musa

Today in our History – January 31, 1324 – Mansa Musa travels to Mecca. Musa Keita I (c. 1280—c. 1337) was the tenth Mansa, which translates as “sultan” (king), “conqueror”, or emperor of the wealthy West African Mali Empire. At the time of Musa’s rise to the throne, the Malian Empire consisted of territory formerly belonging to the Ghana Empire in present-day southern Mauritania and in Melle (Mali) and the immediate surrounding areas. Musa held many titles, including “Emir of Melle”, “Lord of the Mines of Wangara”, “Conqueror of Ghanata”, and at least a dozen others. It is said that Mansa Musa had conquered 24 cities, each with surrounding districts containing villages and estates, during his reign. During his reign Mali may have been the largest producer of gold in the world at a point of exceptional demand. One of the richest people in history, he is known to have been enormously wealthy; reported as being inconceivably rich by contemporaries, “There’s really no way to put an accurate number on his wealth.”

Musa was a devout Muslim, and his pilgrimage to Mecca made him well-known across northern Africa and the Middle East. To Musa, Islam was “an entry into the cultured world of the Eastern Mediterranean”. He would spend much time fostering the growth of the religion within his empire.

Musa made his pilgrimage between 1324–1325. His procession reportedly included 60,000 men, including 12,000 slaves who each carried 1.8 kg (4 lb) of gold bars and heralds dressed in silks who bore gold staffs, organized horses, and handled bags. Musa provided all necessities for the procession, feeding the entire company of men and animals. Those animals included 80 camels which each carried 23–136 kg (50–300 lb) of gold dust. Musa gave the gold to the poor he met along his route. Musa not only gave to the cities he passed on the way to Mecca, including Cairo and Medina, but also traded gold for souvenirs. It was reported that he built a mosque every Friday.

Musa’s journey was documented by several eyewitnesses along his route, who were in awe of his wealth and extensive procession, and records exist in a variety of sources, including journals, oral accounts, and histories. Musa is known to have visited the Mamluk sultan of Egypt, Al-Nasir Muhammad, in July 1324.

But Musa’s generous actions inadvertently devastated the economies of the regions through which he passed. In the cities of Cairo, Medina, and Mecca, the sudden influx of gold devalued the metal for the next decade. Prices on goods and wares greatly inflated. To rectify the gold market, on his way back from Mecca, Musa borrowed all the gold he could carry from money-lenders in Cairo, at high interest. This is the only time recorded in history that one man directly controlled the price of gold in the Mediterranean. Research more about this great African Ruler and tell your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 30 1910- Granville Tailer

GM – FBF – Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

Remember – “Great dancers aren’t great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.” Granville Tailer Woods

Today in our History – January 30, 1910 – Granville Tailer Woods Dies. The magnitude of an inventors work can often be defined by the esteem in which he is held by fellow inventors. If this is the case, then Granville Woods was certainly a respected inventor as he was often referred to as the “Black Thomas Edison.”

Granville Woods was born on April 23, 1856 in Columbus, Ohio. He spent his early years attending school until the age of 10 at which point he began working in a machine shop repairing railroad equipment and machinery. Intrigued by the electricity that powered the machinery, Woods studied other machine workers as they attended to different pieces of equipment and paid other workers to sit down and explain electrical concepts to him. Over the next few years, Woods moved around the country working on railroads and in steel rolling mills. This experience helped to prepare him for a formal education studying engineering (surprisingly, it is unknown exactly where he attended school but it is believed it was an eastern college.)

After two years of studying, Woods obtained a job as an engineer on a British steamship called the Ironsides. Two years later he obtained employment with D & S Railroads, driving a steam locomotive. Unfortunately, despite his high aptitude and valuable education and expertise, Woods was denied opportunities and promotions because of the color of his skin. Out of frustration and a desire to promote his abilities, Woods, along with his brother Lyates, formed the Woods Railway Telegraph Company in 1884. The company manufactured and sold telephone, telegraph and electrical equipment. One of the early inventions from the company was an improved steam boiler furnace and this was followed up by an improved telephone transmitter which had superior clarity of sound and could provide for longer range of distance for transmission.
In 1885, Woods patented a apparatus which was a combination of a telephone and a telegraph. The device, which he called “telegraphony,” would allow a telegraph station to send voice and telegraph messages over a single wire. The device was so successful that he later sold it to the American Bell Telephone Company. In 1887, Woods developed his most important invention to date – a device he called Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph. A variation of the “induction telegraph,” it allowed for messages to be sent from moving trains and railway stations. By allowing dispatchers to know the location of each train, it provided for greater safety and a decrease in railway accidents.

Granville Woods often had difficulties in enjoying his success as other inventors made claims to his devices. Thomas Edison made one of these claims, stating that he had first created a similar telegraph and that he was entitled to the patent for the device. Woods was twice successful in defending himself, proving that there were no other devices upon which he could have depended or relied upon to make his device. After the second defeat, Edison decided that it would be better to work with Granville Woods than against him and thus offered him a position with the Edison Company.

In 1892, Woods used his knowledge of electrical systems in creating a method of supplying electricity to a train without any exposed wires or secondary batteries. Approximately every 12 feet, electricity would be passed to the train as it passed over an iron block. He first demonstrated the device as an amusement apparatus at the Coney Island amusement park and while it amused patrons, it would be a novel approach towards making safer travel for trains.

Many of Woods inventions attempted to increase efficiency and safety railroad cars, Woods developed the concept of a third rail which would allow a train to receive more electricity while also encountering less friction. This concept is still used on subway train platforms in major cities in the United States.
Over the course of his life time Granville Woods would obtain more than 50 patents for inventions including an automatic brake and an egg incubator and for improvements to other inventions such as safety circuits, telegraph, telephone, and phonograph. When he died on January 30, 1910 in New York City he had become an admired and well respected inventor, having sold a number of his devices to such giants as Westinghouse, General Electric and American Engineering – more importantly the world knew him as the Black Thomas Edison. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 27 1861- Martin R. Delany

GM-FBF – You have to choose your path.
You have to decide what you wish to do.
You are the only person that can determine your destiny.

Remember – “Every people should be originators of their own destiny.” Major Martin Robertson Delany

Today in our History – January 27, 1861 – Martin R. Delany (May 6, 1812 – January 24, 1885) was the first African-American commissioned as a major in the Army. The soldier was also a writer, editor, abolitionist, Harvard medical student, physician and judge.

As the bicentennial birthday of Delany approaches, historians want the nationalist to be recognized as a man who shaped history. Martin Delany believed that ‘every person should be the originator of their own destiny.’ He was so fed up with American slavery and segregation that he negotiated a treaty with rulers in West Africa to allow the creation of a new black settlement.

The Charleston, Virginia native was born to a free mother and slave father who risked their lives to educate their children. With his future ahead of him, Martin Delany studied medicine as an apprentice and opened a medical practice that specialized in cupping and leeching.

In 1839, Delany toured slave country to observe the racism endured by his enslaved brothers and sisters. A few years later, Martin Delany joined the fight of Frederick Douglass through literature by publishing a newspaper in Pittsburgh called “The Mystery” then joined Douglass’ North Star publication in Rochester.

By 1850, Delany successfully entered Harvard Medical School to continue his studies. However, he was booted out of the program after three weeks when white students petitioned for his removal. Angered by the discrimination, Delany recorded his frustration in another publication that insisted blacks immigrate to Africa for justice. In 1859, Martin Delany led a commission on a site visit to West Africa, looking for the best location for a new black nation along the Niger River.

Delany’s next effort would be through the Union Army in the Civil War. In 1861, he returned to the U.S. and recruited thousands of blacks to serve in the Union. Four years later he met with President Lincoln and got approval to create an all-black Corps led by African-American officers. He was commissioned a Major in the 52nd U.S. Colored Troops Regiment and became the first line officer in U.S. Army history. His next stop was to run for Republican office. Delany ran for Lt. Governor against Richard Howell Gleaves. In 1874, Delany lost the election to Gleaves. Research more about this great American and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!