Black history is everyone’s history

Published 1:27 pm Friday, February 24, 2012

This weekend is the 10th anniversary of the Phoenix Affaire RISE! Weekend, which began Friday and continues through Sunday with various events throughout Bainbridge. Among the events planned are a live fashion-theater show, aptly called the Phoenix Affaire, a mini open-air street bazaar in downtown Bainbridge, a gospel in the park lawn picnic event and a special photography, artifacts and oral history exhibit at the Firehouse Gallery, which is the weekend’s cornerstone event.

The annual event is specially scheduled each year in February, which has long been celebrated as National Black History Month in the United States. However, this special month shouldn’t make only black Americans proud, but it should inspire people of all races.

For example, did you know these notable inventions by black Americans?

• Madam C.J. Walker invented a hair tonic that led her to become the first female black millionaire.

• Garrett Morgan invented the gas mask, as well as the first traffic light.

• Lewis Latimer worked in the laboratories of both Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, and invented the first carbon filament that Edison used in his light bulbs.

• Elijah McCoy invented an oil-dripping cup for trains. Some competitors tried to copy his design, but their cups did not work as well. That’s when his customers started asking for “the real McCoy.”

It’s clear to see that these achievements are a triumph of the American spirit, and not just the black American spirit. Let’s celebrate Black History Month together, and remember that it’s not just black history, it’s our American history.