Black History Facts…the ones you never hear about
I am the mother of two boys and like many mothers with sons I became very familiar with Thomas the Tank Engine and his crew. Well this first Black History Fact is one that I was enlightened to find out about. The only reason I think I have ever heard the word coupler was from Thomas the Tank Engine and I definitely had no clue that the coupler; which is a device that allows train cars to hook themselves together when they are bumped into one another was invented by a black man.
Andrew Jackson Beard
Born 1849 – Died 1921
Patent No. 594,059
Inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006
Andrew Jackson Beard invented the “Jenny Coupler” in 1897. The device saved the lives of many railroad workers, who originally had the dangerous job of hooking the moving cars together by hand.
Born a slave in Woodland, Alabama, Andrew Beard developed the Automatic Railroad Car Coupler to make railroad work safer. Emancipated at the age of 15 and married at 16, Beard became a farmer near Birmingham for a few years, later working as a carpenter, blacksmith, railroad worker, businessman, and prolific inventor. Beard built a flour mill in Hardwicks, Alabama. In 1881 he patented one of his plow designs, selling it in 1884 and inventing another plow in 1887. In 1889, Beard invented a rotary steam engine that he patented in 1892.
During work on his rotary steam engine, Beard began to experiment with the idea of an automatic car coupler for railroad cars. After losing a leg during his own work on the railroads, Beard wanted to make the dangerous task of coupling cars safer. He invented the Automatic Railroad Car Coupler, also known as the “Jenny” coupler, which was patented in 1897.
Beard’s life from 1897 until his death in 1921 is unknown. source
Being an aspiring writer, I love to hear and read about the magnificent happenings in the world of writing. I am proud of Maya Angelou for being recognized in 1995 for remaining on The New York Times Paperback Nonfiction Bestseller List for two years—the longest running record in history. Do you realize how long two years is when it comes to the writing world? Millions of books are published each year, so for Angelou to hold her place on the New York Times Bestseller List for two years is impressive! Maya Angelou also composed the score for the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia. Her script, the first by an African-American woman ever to be filmed, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Maya Angelou is definitely a Phenomenal Woman!
Did you know:
more info here
The U2 song Angel of Harlem paid tribute to Holiday.
On September 18, 1994, the United States Postal Service honored Holiday by introducing a USPS-sponsored stamp.
Her early band was organized by pianist Teddy Wilson.
She was discovered by John Hammond
A statue of Holiday still stands today at the corner of Lafayette and Pennsylvania Avenues in Baltimore.
In her early life, Coretta Scott King was as well-known as a singer as she was as a civil rights activist. The young soprano won a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where she met future husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. source
Howard “Sandman” Sims
Born January 24, 1918
Died May 20, 2003
African-American tap dancer Howard Sims, was known as the “Sandman” because he often sprinkled sand on stage to amplify his tap dance steps. Sims was famous for his role at the famous Apollo Theater, comedically ushering failed acts offstage with a shepherd’s crook, or “hook”. Another one of his memorable roles was his appearance in a 1990 episode of The Cosby Show as Rudy’s tap dancing teacher, facing off against Cliff (Bill Cosby) in a good-natured tap challenge.