This year I decided I would post, on Instagram, one person a day for black history month. I did this a few years ago and wanted to try it again. I’m not going to lie, it was hard, I didn’t prepare in advance and I learned quickly that you can’t write a novel on Instagram, #Ineedunlimitedcharacters. So picking only one person every day, then editing down their story, thank you Wikipedia, and posting in a timely manner was a bit of a challenge. But I did it and I think people really learned a lot about people they may not have otherwise known about. My strategy was to really bring light to people who’s story may not have been heard or if they were known bringing light to facts that may not have been widely known. Each week I chose an underlining theme: Inventors, Entertainment/Arts, Business and Sports. Here are my favorites from each week.
Frederick Mckinley Jones (May 17, 1893 – February 21, 1961)
Anytime you see a truck on the highway transporting refrigerated or frozen food, you’re seeing the work of Frederick McKinley Jones.
One of the most prolific Black inventors ever, Jones patented more than 60 inventions in his lifetime. While more than 40 of those patents were in the field of refrigeration, Jones is most famous for inventing an automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks and railroad cars.
Zelda Wynn Valdes (June 28, 1905 – September 26, 2001) was an African-American fashion designer and costumer.
Zelda was revered for her design talent and best known for her skill in highlighting the female body. Her curve-hugging creations were worn and loved by a host of Hollywood’s biggest starlets during the 1940s and 50s, including Joyce Bryant, Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald and Mae West. The Pennsylvania-native’s key role in glamorizing these women caught the attention of Playboy’s Hugh Hefner and he commissioned Zelda to design the first-ever Playboy Bunny costumes. And history has proven, the low-cut, skin-tight, sexy outfits are an iconic symbol of seduction and allure, forever ingrained in pop culture.
Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone (August 9, 1869 – May 10, 1957) was an American businesswoman, inventor and philanthropist. In the first three decades of the 20th century, she founded and developed a large and prominent commercial and educational enterprise centered on cosmetics for African-American women. With expertise in both chemistry and hair care, Turnbo began to develop her own hair care products. Due to the high demand for her product in St. Louis, Turnbo opened her first shop on 2223 Market Street in 1902. She also launched a wide advertising campaign in the black press, held news conferences, toured many southern states, and recruited many women whom she trained to sell her products. One of her selling agents, Sarah Breedlove Davis (who became known as Madam C. J. Walker).
Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor (November 26, 1878 – June 21, 1932) was an American cyclist who won the world 1-mile (1.6 km) track cycling championship in 1899 after setting numerous world records and overcoming racial discrimination. Taylor was the first African-American cyclist to achieve the level of world champion and only the second black man to win a world championship in any sport after Canadian boxer George Dixon. By 1898, Taylor had captured seven world records. A year later, he was crowned national and international champion. He collected medals and prize money in races around the world, including Australia, Europe and all over North America.
Again thank you to Wikipedia for the wealth of information I got to share from their website to other people on all the amazing people I shared this past month. For more information on these great individuals check out their Wikipedia pages or my Instagram for them and everyone I shared this month. I hope you enjoyed Black history Month and remember Black History is American History.