Black in the Day…A Man Ahead of His Time

November 9, 1731: On this day the greatest minds ever was born. Almanac author, inventor, surveyor , naturalist and farmer; Benjamin Banneker was born as a free African American in Baltimore County, Province of Maryland, British America.   Benjamin Banneker was born on November 9, 1731, in Baltimore County, Maryland to Mary Banneky, a free black, and Robert, a freed slave from Guinea.[2][3][4][5] There are two conflicting accounts of Banneker’s family history. Banneker himself and his earliest biographers described him as having only African ancestry.[6][7][8] None of Banneker’s surviving papers describe a white ancestor or…

Black in the Day…Where Everybody is Somebody

November 1, 1901: On this date Grambling State University was founded. Grambling State University opened on November 1, 1901 as the Colored Industrial and Agricultural School. It was founded by the North Louisiana Colored Agriculture Relief Association, organized in 1896 by a group of African-American farmers who wanted to organize and operate a school for African Americans in their region of the state. Grambling State University (GSU, Grambling, or Grambling State) is a historically black public university in Grambling, Louisiana. The university is home of the Eddie G. Robinson Museum and is listed on the Louisiana African American Heritage…

Black in the Day…You Got Mail

October 27, 1891: On this date the process of sending out mail was changed forever. Born in Providence, Rhode Island on March 22, 1857, Downing came from a prominent background. During the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century, Philip Bell Downing successfully filed at least five patents with the United States Patent Office. Like so many Black inventors, very little is known about Downing’s personal life.  He lived during the middle to late 1800’s, and he obviously had a practical mind, as two of his patents managed to become crucial inventions.…

Black in the Day…On the Brain

October 22, 1953: On this day Dr. Clarence Greene became the first Black person to be certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. Largely because of the advances of the Civil Rights movement in the mid-20th century, an increasing number of African-Americans have had the opportunity to become physicians and enter the distinguished field of neurosurgery. Many have made the most of this opportunity, becoming prominent in both academics and private practice. Unfortunately, the details regarding the first African-American neurosurgeon, Clarence Sumner Greene, Sr., have remained in relative obscurity.…

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…