From the pastor’s pen



February is a month of a number of notables – Black History, Heart Health and Valentine’s.  All have significant importance, but Black History should resonate to most every African American.  Black History Month is a time to commemorate African Americans who have changed the world.  In February 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson began the celebration of Black History Week, the second week in February because of the inclusion of the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.  However, widespread complaints that one week was insufficient time for the recognition of the many significant contributions by African Americans.  In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month, calling upon all Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Here are some little known African-Americans :

George Crum invented the potato chip in 1853.  Crum was a chef at a New York resort.  French fries were popular.  One day a customer complained that the French fries were too thick.  Crum made a thinner batch of fries.  The customer was still unsatisfied.  Crum finally made some fries too thin to eat with a fork.  Hoping to annoy the customer, surprisingly, the customer was happy and potato chips were invented.

Philip B. Downing invented the street letter drop mailbox with a hinged door that closed to protect the mail.  Downing received a patent on October 27, 1891.

Clatonia Joaquin Dorticus received many patents.  He invented an apparatus for applying dyes to the sides of soles and heels of shoes, a machine for embossing photographs, a device for helping develop photographs and a leak stopper for hoses.

Sarah S. Goode invented the folding cabinet bed, a space saver that folded up against the wall into a cabinet.  When folded up, it became a desk with compartments.  Goode’s patent was the first one obtained by an African American woman.

Norbert Rillieux invented a device that revolutionized sugar processing.  His vacuum sugar evaporator (patented in 1864) made sugar processing more efficient, faster and much safer.


Black History

Remember! Celebrate! Educate!



Yours in God’s Service,

Pastor James H. Cantrell

Pastor, Zion Baptist Church