Tag: Madame CJ Walker

Five Fun Apps to Upgrade Your Black History Knowledge

blackHistoryApps
(Image: BlackInvestors.com)

If there is one thing we should know, it’s that Black History is made every day. For example, Madame C.J. Walker, who created specialized hair products for African-American hair, paved the way for many women such as Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter, to start their own haircare companies. Frank Greene, considered one of the first black technologists, cleared the path for future innovators like Chinedu Echeruo, the Founder of Hopstop.com and Tripology.com.  And without a doubt, knowledge of your history can empower you to forge successfully into the future.

If you’re looking to learn more about history or discover other African Americans making their mark on the world, check out this list of Black History apps for your smartphone or tablet.Black Inventors Match Game: Celebrate African American inventors with best friends Myles and Ayesha as you learn who earned patents for everyday items such as the doorknob, the traffic light and lemon squeezer. Then test your IQ with a matching game. (Available for Android and iOS)

  • Then and Now Series: Black History: The Then and Now Series apps shed light on facts about different cultures. In the Black History edition, you can learn about 100 different people through biographies, images and links to video or music. Print or email the bios to share the knowledge with friends. (Available for iOS)
  • More Than a Mapp: Explore an interactive map and bring black history close to home—literally. Set your location, and nearby historically significant sites will illuminate on the map. Check out related links, photos and videos. Know of a significant location not shown? Send it in, wait for verification and create your own pinpoint for all to see and learn. (Available for Android and iOS)
  • Black History Quiz: Test your knowledge of important black figures with multiple-choice questions. If you don’t know an answer, learn as you go—you won’t be able to move onto the next question until you get it right. (Available for Android and via the Amazon App Store)
  • The Root: Update your perspective with The Root, an inclusionary news source that features writing by prominent African American writers. In addition to political, social, cultural and racial commentary, tune in to podcasts and view slideshows for an interactive, visual news experience. (Available for Android and iOS)

article by Kandia Johnson via blackenterprise.com

Six Black Inventors Who Changed the World

Thanks to African-American inventors and innovators our lives are easier, more convenient and more prosperous in many ways.  Although we rarely hear about these sharp, groundbreaking pioneers from the past and present, black innovators have contributed in every field—from mechanics to cosmetics to consumer goods to technology. This Black History Month we pause to acknowledge a few.

While working at IBM, Mark Dean invented the first modern peripherals that enabled us to plug speakers, disk drives, scanners and printers into computers. Dean holds three of IBMs original nine PC patents.

At just 27 years old, chemist Dennis Weatherby invented automatic dishwasher detergent while working at Proctor & Gamble in 1987.  His invention now sells under the trade name “Cascade” and is the basic formula for all of today’s lemon-scented cleaning products with bleach.

If you’ve ever wondered where the phrase “the real McCoy” originated look to innovator Elijah McCoy.  His parents escaped slavery in the mid- 1800s by way of the Underground Railroad and moved to Canada.  They sent him to Scotland to be educated. Upon completing his studies, McCoy moved to the United States for work but discrimination prevented him from finding employment as a professional engineer. So he went to work on the railroad as an oilman responsible for keeping the moving parts of the trains lubricated for locomotion. He found that walking along the trains oiling the axles and bearings was inefficient so he created an oil lubricating cup that automatically dripped oil onto the moving parts.  His invention allowed trains to travel long distances continuously without the need to stop for oiling.  After he received a patent for his invention there were many engineers who imitated his work.  But informed train operators knew his invention was superior and when they needed to order an automatic oil cup they would ask for “the real McCoy.” His invention became standard equipment on most locomotives and heavy machinery. McCoy went on to patent more than 50 inventions.

Sarah Goode was born into slavery, but went on to become the first African-American woman to receive a U.S. patent, issued on July 14, 1885 for a folding cabinet bed. The entrepreneur, who was freed after the Civil War, invented the bed for people who lived in small apartments near her Chicago home, and sold her creation at a furniture store she owned there.

Thomas Jennings, the first African-American to receive a U.S. patent, invented the dry-cleaning process.  He operated a dry-cleaning business in New York City and is said to have donated most of his business profits to the movement to abolish slavery.

Madam C.J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) was born to parents who had gained their freedom from slavery only to pass away a short while later from a deadly fever. Sarah became an orphan at 7 years of age and by 20 years of age she was a widow and single mother.  Having struggled with dry scalp and hair, and seeking a better life for herself and her daughter, she invented hair care products and sold them to other African-American women.  Eventually she was able to create a thriving national corporation that employed 3,000 or more people — primarily African-American women whom she taught the principles of entrepreneurship and marketing so they too could become financially stable.  Her company went on to develop other hair and beauty products and equipment that were used by white women as well.

Madam Walker became so wealthy that some of the world’s richest men in history were her neighbors.  Among them was oil billionaire (in today’s dollars), industrialist, and Spelman benefactor, John D. Rockefeller, who invested so substantially in the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary three years after it was established that its name was changed to Spelman Seminary (now Spelman College) in honor of his wife, Laura Spelman.

It is inspiring to consider such richness and ingenuity among African-Americans.  These few examples of many hundreds of black innovators and trendsetters are a clear demonstration that all of us are capable of making incredible contributions that carry our country, communities, families and fortunes forward.

article by Felicia Joy via blackenterprise.com

Unsung Black Women in History: Biddy Mason, from Slavery to One of Los Angeles’ Wealthiest Black Entrepreneurs

BIDDY MASON  CALIFORNIA SUED FOR HER FREEDOM_jpgFrom Clutch Magazine:

Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Madame CJ Walker—the list of women typically mentioned during Black History Month is incredibly short. But this year, CLUTCH will celebrate the achievements of black women you may not have ever heard about.

First up: Bridget “Biddy” Mason.

Bridget “Biddy” Mason was born on August 15, 1818 in Georgia. Mason was born into slavery and before her death in 1891 she become one of Los Angeles’ wealthiest Black residents and philanthropists.

After working on a plantation in Mississippi owned by Robert Marion Smith, Mason migrated to Utah with the Smiths, who had converted to Mormonism. During the grueling two-thousand-mile journey, Mason herded cattle, prepared meals, and worked as a nurse and midwife. In 1851, Smith moved his brood, including his enslaved servants, to San Bernardino, California.

California was admitted to the Union as a free state in 1850 and forbade slavery, because of this, Smith planned to relocate to Texas to continue holding slaves. However, in 1856 Mason petitioned the court and sued Smith for her freedom. She won her case, securing not only her freedom, but also that of her daughters, as well as 10 other Black women and their children.

Continue reading “Unsung Black Women in History: Biddy Mason, from Slavery to One of Los Angeles’ Wealthiest Black Entrepreneurs”