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African American History

Carter G. Woodson – Quote

Title at top of graphic is Carter G. Woodson - Quote.  Below the title is a picture of Carter G. Woodson. Next to his photo is a quote:  We have a wonderful history behind us...and it is going to inspire us to greater achievements. - Carter G. Woodson

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We close out Black History Month with a quote from the Father of Black History Month, Dr. Carter G. Woodson.

“We have a wonderful history behind us…and it is going to inspire us to greater achievements.”

-Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Woodson is so right! Our history is rich and wonderful, and it will propel present and future generations to higher heights and greater achievements. Thank you for rocking with Black Mail for another month of Black History….Special Delivery!

But, y’all know one month can’t hold our history! We’ll be back!

The Southern Manifesto: Attempt By Southern Politicians To Maintain Jim Crow Segregation

Top of graphic says, "The Southern Manifesto". Below is a picture of white protestors with picket signs.  Next to the picture are the following words, "In 1956, the House Rules Committee chairman, Howard Smith, announced the Southern Manifesto. Brought forth as an act of defiance, the Manifesto challenged Brown v. Board of Education with the hope of maintaining Jim Crow segregation. "

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On March 12, 1956, the House Rules Committee chairman, Howard Smith, announced the Southern Manifesto in a speech on the House Floor. The document’s formal name was the “Declaration of Constitutional Principles, ” Seventy-seven representatives signed it, and 19 Senators, totaling approximately one-fifth of the membership of Congress, and all from Confederate states. Brought forth as an act of defiance, the Manifesto challenged the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, which outlawed separate school facilities for black and white students.

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Dasia Taylor: Black Scientist Who Invented Dye For Sutures To Detect Infection

Top of graphic has the name "Dasia Taylor"  Below the name is a picture of Black scientist and inventor Dasia Taylor.  She is wearing a white lab coat with a black graphic tshirt.  She is wearing glasses.  Next to her photo is the text, "Dasia Taylor is a black scientist and inventor. In 2019 at the age of 15, she developed surgical sutures that change color to indicate to reveal if a wound is healing properly "

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Scientist and inventor Dasia Taylor was born on April 6, 2004, in Chicago, Illinois. Taylor graduated from Iowa City West High School in Iowa City, Iowa, in 2021. 

In 2019, at age fifteen, Taylor conducted an experiment with beets. She discovered that dye from beets applied to surgical sutures would change color at a perfect pH point, revealing if a wound was healing properly. When healing correctly, the suture thread (containing beet juice) would change from bright red to dark purple. Cesarean infections were of particular concern for Taylor. In some African nations, as much as 20 percent of women giving birth by c-section experience surgical site infections. 

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Dennis Weatherby: Developer Of Cascade Dish Detergent Chemical Formula

At the topic of the graphic is the name, "Dennis Weatherby" an African American scientist. Below this is a picture of Dennis Weatherby with the text, "African-American scientist Dennis W. Weatherby created the chemical formula for Cascade detergent."

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African American scientist Dennis Weatherby is responsible for the Cascade dish detergent chemical formula. He was born in Brighton, Alabama, on December 4, 1959. Weatherby developed a love for science as a child. Following high school he attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, on a football scholarship. He graduated with a bachelor of arts in chemistry in 1982.

Following graduation, Weatherby was employed by Proctor and Gamble as a process engineer. Within two years, he led a consumer products team focusing on developing a new detergent. Previous detergents stained both dishes and dishwashers. Weatherby and a co-developer Brian J. Roselle developed a dish solution with a lemon-yellow pigment that did not stain dishes. Weatherby patented the “automatic dishwasher detergent composition” formula on December 22, 1987. He was 27 years old. The formula is still used for all lemon-scented cleaning products containing bleach. 

Weatherby left Protocor and Gamble and was briefly employed by The Whittaker Corporation. He then returned to his alma mater, Central State Univesity, in 1989 as a faculty member, advisor, recruiter, and counselor. He then joined the faculty of Auburn University in 1996 to launch the school’s new minority engineering program. After leaving Auburn, he was employed by the Univesity of Notre Dame in 2004, serving as an associate dean in the graduate school. He then accepted a position at Northern Kentucky University in 2006 as Associate Provost. 

Weatherby experienced chronic high blood pressure throughout his life. In August 2007, he was recovering at home after a period of illness related when he hit his foot and developed a blood clot that traveled to his brain. Weatherby died on September 15, 2007. He was 47 years old, leaving behind a wife, four daughters, and two sons. 

Another installment of melanated mail has been delivered. Ponder, reflect, and pass it on!

The Negro Sanhedrin

Top of pic has the post title, "The Negro Sanhedrin"  to the left of the post is a pic of the founder of the Negro Sanhedrin Kelly Smith.  To the right is a description of the Negro Sanhedrin which is explained in the blog post.  At the bottom of the pic is the website:

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The Negro Sanhedrin was founded by Kelly Miller (1863-1939). The organization aimed to increase collaboration and unity among Black organizations in the United States. The “Sanhedrin” originally was a Jewish religious and legislative body of ancient Israel. It was comprised of leaders appointed to oversee each city of Israel. In Hebrew, the word means “sitting together, an assembly or council.” The term embodied what Miller envisioned, a national organization with a clear agenda and regional leadership in place across the United States. Miller’s singular focus on the condition of the Black community in the United States was different than that of other movements active at the time, including the Pan African Conference led by W.E.B. Du Bois, which focused on the global Black community. It also differed from the vision of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association which focused on the emigration of  Black Americans back to Africa.

Miller felt that black organizations often duplicated efforts and lacked clarity in addressing the priorities of the black community with a unified voice. Miller, a lauded sociologist, served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard University. He was highly respected and able to draw representation from sixty-three Black organizations to meet in Chicago for 5 days in 1924. Organizations included the National Association For The Advancement of Colored People, the Equal Rights League, the Race Congress, the International Uplift League, and the Friends of Negro Freedom. Miller also invited individuals of influence unaffiliated with a Black organization. The event drew approximately 300 delegates.

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Winifred Mason Chenet:  Pioneering Black American Jewelry Designer

Vintage Set, 1965

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Winifred Mason Chenet (1918 – 1993) is recognized as a pioneering Black jewelry designer. Many consider her the first commercial Black jeweler in the United States. She was born in Brooklyn, NY. An exceptional student, Mason earned a bachelors degree in English Literature and a masters degree in teaching from NYU. After teaching crafts for several years through the Junior Achievement program, she was awarded a Rosenwald Fund grant. The grant provided her with the resources to go to Haiti, where she created jewelry that paid homage to the spiritual and cultural aspects of the island. Upon returning to the U.S., her jewelry sales began to take off. Most of Mason’s jewelry pieces were made of copper. She never repeated a design, making each one of her pieces one-of-a-kind originals.

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Black Inventor William H. Richardson Patents Reversible Baby Carriage in 1889

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In 1889 the Black inventor, William H. Richardson, patented a new type of baby carriage. William Kent invented the first baby carriage in England in 1733. The carriage was accented with gold and silver and designed to be pulled by a miniature pony. Due to the expense of early strollers, they were inaccessible to most working-class families. Working-class families did have them had carriages made out of cheaper materials like wood or wicker.

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Lloyd Hall: Trailblazing Chemist And Pioneer In Food Preservation

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Black food chemist Lloyd Augustus Hall was born in Elgin, Illinois, in 1894. Attending high school in Aurora, IL, he was one of only five black students at his high school. Hall graduated with honors in 1912. In 1914, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from Northwestern University. In 1916 received a Master of Science degree from the University of Chicago. He married Myrrhene Newsome on September 23, 1919. She was a teacher from Macomb, IL. The couple had two children. Following graduation, He was offered a position by Western Electric Company through a telephone interview. However, when he showed up for his first day of work, he was told, “We don’t take niggers”. Hall then interviewed and was hired by the City of Chicago as a chemist. He would go on to work for several organizations including the U.S. government and United Nations. The majority of his 34-year career was spent at Griffith Laboratories. 

Hall developed methods to keep food fresh while maintaining flavor. Many of the chemicals still used to preserve food today resulted from his pioneering research. Before his groundbreaking discoveries, food preservation was challenging, and the methods used often significantly altered the taste and flavor of foods. The most common food preservatives consisted of a mixture of sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite. This combination often made foods bitter and unpalatable. One of Hall’s most successful inventions addressed this problem. In 1932, he developed a variety of complex chemical salts that could be used as a preservative without negatively impacting the taste of food. This discovery prompted his employer at the time, Griffith Laboratories, to open a factory dedicated to producing his chemical salt compounds. He also invented processes to sterilize spices, other food materials, and pharmaceuticals still being used today. He also developed an innovative method to preserve meats known as “flash-drying”

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Jesse Ernest Wilkins, Jr:  Trailblazing Mathematician And Physicist

Black History: Special Delivery!!

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Jesse Ernest Wilkins, Jr. (1923-2011) was a renowned African American mathematician and physicist. He worked at the University of Chicago on the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was a scientific research and development initiative to support nuclear weapons production. It was a partnership between the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In solidarity with 70 other Manhattan Project scientists, Wilkins signed Leo Szilard’s petition to President Truman. This petition sought to alert President Truman and the U.S. government of the harm that could be done by deploying the atomic bomb. However, the President nor the Secretary of War received the petition before the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Wilkins, along with many other scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project, was interested in how the use of atomic energy might be applied peacefully. 

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