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If we had never come to America, there would be very few crops that flourished because America’s AGRICULTURE was built on the labor of Africans. There would be no cities with tall skyscrapers because Alexander Mils, a Black man, invented the ELEVATOR. There would be few, if any, cars because Richard Spikes, an African American, invented the AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION, Joseph Gammell, also Black, invented the Super Charge System for Internal Combustion Engines, and Garrett A. Morgan invented TRAFFIC SIGNALS.           

There would be no RAPID TRANSIT system because its forerunner, the electric trolley, was invented by another Black man, Elbert R. Robinson.                                         

Even if there were streets on which cars and a rapid transit system could operate, they would be cluttered with paper because an African American, Charles Brooks, invented the STREET SWEEPER.                                                     

There would be few if any newspapers, magazines and books because John Love invented the PENCIL SHARPENER, William Purvis gave us the fountain pen, Lee Burridge invented the TYPEWRITING MACHINE and W.A. Lovette invented the Advanced Printing Press. They were all African American.                                                                              

Even if Americans could write their letters, articles and books, they could not be sent by mail because William Barry invented the POSTMARKING and CANCELLING MACHINE, William Purvis gave us the Hand Stamp and Phillip Downing invented the Letter Drop.                                                                   

The lawns would be brown and wilted because Joseph Smith invented the LAWN SPRINKLER and John Burr the LAWN MOWER. Both were African Americans.                                           

Our homes would be poorly heated and ventilated. You see, Frederick Jones invented the AIR CONDITIONER and Alice Parker gave us a Heating Furnace.                                                  

Our homes would also be dim because we are indebted to Lewis Latimer for the ELECTRIC LAMP, Michael Harvey invented a LANTERN and Granville T. Woods gave us the AUTOMATIC CUTOFF SWITCH.                                                   

Our homes would not be that clean because Thomas W. Steward invented the MOP and Lloyd P. Ray, the DUST PAN. And we would be a little shabby and unkempt. Since Jan E. Matzelinger invented the machine that automatically sews the soles onto shoes, Walter Sammons invented the modern Comb, Sarah Boone gave us the IRONING BOARD and George T. Samon invented the CLOTHES DRYER.                                           

Finally, our food would not be fresh since African American John Standard gave us the REFRIGERATOR….

(For further info, pick up the very readable, well-illustrated little book, African American Inventors by Viola Sanders, P.O. Box 1753, Piscataway, NJ 08855, (732) 463-8719)

(Have you ever heard the phrase, “the real McCoy”? It means the genuine version of an item, not a cheap knock off of a tried and true original. The saying began with the invention of the lubricating cup for locomotives by African American Elijah McCoy. It was absolutely essential to the development of the railroad. However, many tried to rip off his patented idea with cheap, inefficient versions of this crucial device. And so when buying a lubricating cup, trainmen would always ask, “Is this the real McCoy?” There was a TV show in the 1960s called, The Real McCoys, and it starred a white family!)

by Dr. Arthur Lewin, author of Africa Is Not A Country: It’s A Continent, www.AfricaUnlimited.com

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