Black History Month Celebration
Welcome to Beauty Of The Nile's Black History Month Celebration Trivia. We hope you enjoy our 29 days of spotlight on a few of the many amazing achievements & contributions by Black Americans to our country and the world.
Q - Who invented the 3-way traffic signal?
A - Garrett Morgan invented the 3-way traffic signal in 1923 after witnessing a horrible crash between a horse-drawn carriage and a car at an intersection. He
felt the existing two-signal traffic instructions did not provide a transition between stop and go, resulting in unnecessary accidents. He created a traffic mechanism that included a signal that told drivers to be cautious crossing the intersection, rather than just go and stop. His invention has saved millions of lives around the world. A patent for Morgan's traffic signal was issued in 1923 and he sold the rights to General Electric for $40,000. Morgan was a prolific inventor. He is also the inventor of the gas mask, which saved the lives of miners, and many soldiers from toxic gas during World War I. Morgan's invention of the gas mask was featured on the television show Inventions that Shook the World.
Q - Who invented the first home security system?
A - ADT, SimpliSafe, Vivint, and many more around the word make up the $60 billion home security market. They owe it all to Marie Van Brittan Brown - who, with her husband Albert - invented the first home security system in 1966. Marie
was a nurse. She spent many evenings home alone and felt unsafe in her neighborhood. She allowed her fear to drive her creativity. She created a camera system that allowed her to see outside so she could be warned about any potentially unwanted guests. The invention also allowed her to remotely unlatch the door for visitors.
Marie and her husband filed for a patent for their “Home Security System Utilizing Television Surveillance,” as it was titled. (See the image below.) The patent was approved three years later and opened the gateway to closed-circuit television (CCTV). The system brought Marie nationwide recognition. It also opened the door to other security systems that featured video, remote-controlled door locks, and alarm devices that contacted the police if the need arose. Indeed, to this day, Brown's invention is used by businesses, homes, and others.
Q - Who invented the Ironing Board?
A - Sarah Boone, born in 1832, was a dressmaker who is famous for inventing the modern-day ironing board in 1892.
Prior to her invention, ironing was done on a wooden plank laid across two chairs
or tables. This method of ironing was insufficient for the corsets that were in style at the time. Boone's invention was the creation of a narrower, curved and padded board allowed for garments to be ironed without getting wrinkled. Her ironing board was also collapsible.
Her patent application (U.S. Patent No. 473,653) stated that the invention’s purpose was "to produce a cheap, simple, convenient and highly effective device, particularly adapted to be used in ironing the sleeves and bodies of ladies' garments."
Q - Who invented Refrigerated Trucks?
A - THAT Guy! ==> Refrigerated trucks were invented by Frederick McKinley Jones in 1925. He received a patent for his invention in 1940. Jones’s refrigerated trucks were critical during WWII in transporting blood, food and
supplies. In 1938, he founded the U.S. Thermo Control Company which is known today as Thermo King.
How great was Frederick as an inventor? He had more than 20 inventions that changed the world, and each of our lives, for the better.
Q – Who invented Automatic Elevator Doors?
A – Automatic elevator doors were invented by Alexander Miles in 1887. Prior to
Miles’ invention, elevators were convenient, but dangerous as without automatic doors, there were many fatal accidents with people falling down elevator shafts. Miles was inspired to create the doors when his daughter had a near fatal fall down an elevator shaft.
Q – Who invented the Electret Microphone?
A – Dr. James West co-invented the electret microphone in 1964 while working at
Bell Labs with Gerhard Sessler, his German colleague. The electret microphone is a powerful and compact microphone used in phones, camera, hearing aids, baby monitors etc.
Q – Who invented the modern-day Light Bulb?
A – We all know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. What you may not
know is that Edison’s invention flamed out in a couple of days because of the filament he used in his bulb. Lewis Lattimer added a carbon filament to the light bulb in 1881. This significantly increased the life span of the light bulb – making it a commercially viable product.
Q – What year was Ebony Magazine first published?
A – The first issue of Ebony Magazine was published by John Johnson on
November 1, 1945. In an interview in 1975, Johnson said, "Ebony was founded to provide positive images for Blacks in a world of negative images and non-images. It was founded to project all dimensions of the Black personality in a world saturated with stereotypes."
Q – Who wrote the book, “Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?”
A – “Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?” (Available at
https://amzn.to/3wkMTlN) was written by Reginald Lewis. Lewis was the first Black American to build a billion dollar company. When he closed an overseas billion dollar leveraged buyout deal, he stood at the helm of a global conglomerate of 64 companies in 31 countries.
February 10thQ – Who were the first Black American landowners?
A – Mary and Anthony Johnson were the first Black Americans to own land. They purchased an estate in 1640 that eventually expanded to include 250 acres in eastern shore Virginia.
Q – What was the first Black-owned Resort Community?
A – The first Black-owned resort community was Highland Beach, Maryland. It
was founded in 1893 by Frederick Douglass’s son, Charles Douglass. Charles and his wife Laura founded the community after being denied entry into a restaurant on the Chesapeake Bay. They purchased 40 acres of beachfront property and developed it as a summer resort community by selling lots to family and friends.
Q – What was the first Black Summer Camp for children?
A – Camp Atwater was the first Black summer camp for children. It was created
in 1921 by Dr. William DeBerry in Brookfield, MA. DeBerry saw the camp as an opportunity for his children to meet other Black children with a similar background. (Black children were excluded from white camps.) Today, the camp is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and continues its mission of nurturing Black children. Get more info here => https://www.campatwater.org
Q – Who was the first Black American Billionaire?
A – Robert Johnson, founder of BET (Black Entertainment Television) became a
billionaire in 2001 when he sold BET to Viacom for $3 billion. Johnson also founded The RLJ Companies, a holding company that owns a variety of business, including financial services, hotel real estate, private equity, asset management, automobile dealerships, sports and entertainment, and Video lottery terminal gamin
Q – Who was the first Black graduate of an Ivy League school?
A – Theodore Sedgwick Wright was the first Black graduate of an Ivy League
school. He graduated from Princeton’s Theological Seminary in 1828. After graduation, Wright became the pastor of the First Colored Presbyterian Church in New York.
Q – Who was the first Black women to graduate from college?
A – Mary Jane Patterson graduated from Oberlin College with a BA in 1862 and became a teacher.
Q – Who was the first Black Rhodes Scholar?
A – Alain Locke graduated from Harvard University and became the first Black
Rhodes Scholar in 1907, three years after the award was created. Locke was a writer, philosopher and educator. He was also known as the philosophical architect of the Harlem Renaissance.
Q – Who was the first Black person to be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa?
A – In 1877, George Washington Henderson graduated from the University of
Vermont and became the first Black person to be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the highest academic honor society. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in divinity from Yale and spent his career in academics and theology.
Q – Who was the first Black Female Doctor in the United States?
A – Dr. Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler was the first Black female doctor. She
graduated from the New England Female Medical College and received her M.D. in 1864. When she graduated, there were 54,000 doctors in the United States. Three hundred were women and she was the only Black woman.
Q – Who created Blood Banks?
A – Dr. Charles Drew developed enhanced blood storage techniques and blood banks that save the lives of thousands during World War II and since. Drew, a well-known researcher and surgeon, was named medical director of a pilot project
to store blood for the American Red Cross in 1941. He was given this honor after he discovered that plasma could be stored, preserved, and used to save lives in an emergency. Drew implemented his discovery during WWII collecting blood from over 15,000 people and performing over 1,500 transfusions.
Dr. Drew protested against the unscientific practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood. This led to him resigning his position with the American Red Cross, which kept the segregation policy in place until 1950.
Q – Who was the first Black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby?
A – Oliver Lewis (1856–1924) was the first Black jockey to win the first Kentucky Derby. On May 17, 1875, Lewis won the race aboard the horse, Aristides. The Kentucky Derby is the longest continuous sporting event in the country
Q – Who was MLB's first Black Professional Baseball Player? Hint: It’s not Jackie Robinson
A – Moses Fleetwood Walker – known as “Fleet” - was the first Black person to
play Major League Baseball when he played catcher for the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1884. Ther next Black player in Major Leagure Baseball was Jackie Robinson in 1947.
“Though research by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) indicates William Edward White was the first African-American baseball player in the major leagues, Walker, unlike White (who [intentionally] passed as a white man and self-identified as such), was the first to be open about his black heritage, and to face the racial bigotry so prevalent in the late 19th century United States.” Source: Wikipedia.
Q – Who was the first Professional Black golfer?
A – John Matthew Shippen, Jr. was the first Black professional golfer. In 1896, at age seventeen, he competed in the U.S. Open. After the first day of the Open, he was tied for first place. After the final round, he stood in 5th place, winning a $10 prize. Shippen was the only Black golfer to compete in the U.S. Open until Ted Rhodes played in 1948.
Q – Who was the first Black NFL coach?
A – Fritz Pollard was the first Black NFL coach in 1921 for the Akron Pros in what was then called the American Professional Football Association. Prior to coaching for the Pros, Pollard was a player that football experts called the most feared running back in the game.
Q – Who was the first Black Graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point?
A – Henry Ossian Flipper (March 21, 1856 – April 26, 1940) was an American soldier, engineer, author, former slave, and in 1877, became the first graduate
from the United States Miitary Academy at West Point. After graduation, Flipper was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and assigned to the 10th U.S. Cavalry Regiment where he became the first Black officer to commad the Buffalo Soldiers. He was also the first Black officer to lead troops in the U.S. Army.
So famous is Flipper that a bust of him was installed at West Point. And, each year, the Henry O. Flipper Award is awarded to the graduating cadet who exhibits "leadership, self-discipline, and perseverance in the face of unusual difficulties."
Flipper was a riveting and prolific author, writing about his various experiences, scientific topics, and the Southwest. In The Colored Cadet at West Point (1878) (https://amzn.to/42SSTOV), he describes his experiences at the military academy. In the Negro Frontiersman: The Western Memoirs of Henry O. Flipper (1963) (https://amzn.to/3OWGcwJ), he describes his life in Texas and Arizona on the U.S.-Mexican border, his adventures in Sonora and Chihuahua before the Mexican Revolution, his time as an aide to U.S. Senator Albert Bacon Fall, and his recollections on race and politics in the 1930s.
Q – Who was the first Black Female General?
A – Hazel Johnson became the first Black female general in the U.S. Army in 1979 when she was chosen Chief of the Army Nurse Corps. During her illustrious career, Johnson helped develop new sterilizing methods for the Army’s Field Hospital Systems.
Q – Who was the first Black Radio Personality?
A – Jack Cooper became the first Black radio broadcaster in 1925. As a newspaper theater editor with a weekly column, he was asked to produce a radio show with radio skits using “Negro dialect”. The show was successful but it was basically radio minstrel, so Cooper quit that job to start his own radio program designed to respect and entertain Black audiences.
Q – Who was the first Black person to have their own Network Television Show?
A – Nat King Cole became the first Black person to have a network TV show in 1956. The show started as a 15-minute weekly variety show that NBC expanded to 30 minutes. Cole’s guests were a Who’s Who of entertainment including Mel Torme, Pearl Bailey and Mahalia Jackson. However, the show only lasted 2 seasons because – despite its popularity – it could not get a major sponsor. Potential sponsors were afraid of boycotts if they backed the show that featured a Black host.
Q – Who was the first Black Composer to have their music published?
A – Francis Johnson was the first Black composer to have his music published in 1817. George Willig published Johnson’s Collection of New Cotillions. Johnson was a band leader in Philadelphia. His music was so popular, that he led the first American group to perform for Queen Victoria in England in 1837.
Q – Who was the first Black person elected to State Government?
A – Alexander Twilight was the first Black person to be elected to state government in the U.S. In 1836, he was elected to serve as a legislator in the Vermont General Assembly. Twilight was also the first Black person in the U.S. to graduate from college. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1823.
During this and every month, be sure and “Love Your Brown Skin!”