Black in the Day…Planting Seeds

October 14, 1834: On this day Henry Blair received his first patent on October 14, 1834 for his invention of the corn seed planter. He also became only the 2nd Black man to receive a patent at the time. He was born in Glen Ross, Maryland, United States in 1807. His first invention was the Seed-Planter,[2] patented October 14, 1834, which allowed farmers to plant more corn using less labor in a smaller amount of time. On August 31, 1836[3] he obtained a second patent for a cotton planter. This invention worked by…

Black in the Day…A Navy Hero

October 13, 1926: On this day a history making Navy aviator and proud Mississippian was born. Jesse Leroy Brown was the first Black man to complete Navy pilot training and become a Naval aviator. Doing so was one of his greatest challenges—fighting his way to such an illustrious place in the armed services at a time when the military was still segregated and most traditionalists felt that there was no place of honor in the Navy for anyone who was not a white male. Jesse Leroy Brown set his sights on…

Black in the Day…No Laughing Matter

October 12, 1932: On this day, one of the greatest comedians and activists were born. Dick Gregory was a pioneering comedian and civil rights activist who took on race with layered, nuanced humor during the turbulent 1960s.   Richard Claxton Gregory (October 12, 1932 – August 19, 2017) was an American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, conspiracy theorist, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. During the turbulent 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his “no-holds-barred” sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism. He performed primarily to black audiences at segregated clubs until 1961, when he…

Black in the Day….Opening and Closing Doors

October 11, 1887: On this day Alexander Miles was awarded U.S. Patent 371,207 for an improved mechanism for opening and closing the doors to the shaft and the elevator. When the elevator was first invented in the mid-19th century, the elevator operator or the passengers themselves had to manually close the doors. The door to the elevator shaft also had to be closed manually. You have probably seen movies where well-groomed elevator operators open and close sliding doors for wealthy patrons. But life in tall buildings was not always that idyllic. Elevator and…

Black in the Day…Keep Hope Alive

October 8, 1941: On this day activist and former presidential  candidate Jesse Jackson was born. Jesse Louis Jackson Sr. (born October 8, 1941) is an American civil rights activist, Baptist minister, and politician. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as a shadow U.S. Senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He is the founder of the organizations that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH. Former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. is his eldest son. Jackson hosted Both Sides with Jesse Jackson on CNN from 1992 to 2000. Ebony Magazine named Jackson to its “100 most influential black Americans” list in 1971.[17] In 1979, Jackson received the Jefferson Award for…