Updated: Nov 4, 2020
While doing the research for our 1st grades son’s Black History Month project a couple weeks ago, I learned that Robert F. Flemming, Jr. created the version of the guitar that we know today. When I put his name in the search engine, hardly anything pops up. And if you Google “Who invented the guitar” Mr. Flemming’s name doesn’t pop up at all. Names for who invented the electric guitar do but none of them are him. It’s amazing! It’s like he was completely erased. If he were not on that list for my son’s school project, I would have never known his name.
It got me to thinking about all the names we have never heard, all the inventions we have never known we should be credited, all the stories we were never told. I love hearing what Dr. King and Rosa Parks have done for us, but What about the thousands of others who have paved our path to where we are now?
I want to know more of those names and 28 days a year (29 on leap years) is just not enough. Black History Month, which began as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson then transitioned to 1976, is amazing, but we should be educating our children and ourselves all year round about our culture. So, for the next year, for 52 weeks, I am going to share a new name in our history because #BlackFridayEveryFriday. Read, enjoy and pass it own so these names do not disappear!
Week 38: Friday, October 30, 2020
Born: December 9, 1922, St. Louis, MO
Died: October 11, 1991, Los Angeles, CA
Known by his stage name of Redd Foxx, John Elroy Sanford was a famous stand-up comedian and actor best known for his sexually explicit acts in the 50s and 60s while performing at night clubs. Foxx performed on more than 50 records and would be deemed the "King of the Party Records" for his work. In 1972, Foxx was signed as junk dealer named Fred Sanford in a NBC sitcom. While on the set of The Royal Family in 1991, Redd suffered a massive heart attack and passed at the age of 68.
Week 37: Friday, October 23, 2020
Born: July 26, 1972 (age 48), New York City, NY
Korey Wise is now an activist who is well known for advocating for criminal justice reform. Wise travels the country sharing his stories of being wrongfully convicted in the Central Park jogger case that occurred on April 19, 1989 for the attack of then 28-year-old Trisha Meili. Wise was convicted along side Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray Raymond Santana Jr. and Yusef Salaam. The were also convicted of the attacks on eight other people on that night. Wise spent 14 years incarcerated, maintaining his innocence from until he was exonerated in 2002. Wise's net worth is around $15 million.
Week 36: Friday, October 16, 2020
Born: January 26, 1944 (age 76), Birmingham, AL
Angela Yvonne Davis is a political activist, author, philosopher and academic. As a teenager, Davis would attempt to organized interracial study groups, but they were quickly broken up by the local police. In the 60s, she joined several groups, including the Black Panthers. However, Davis spent most of her time working with an all black branch of the Communist Party known as the Che-Lumumba Club. She is now a professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The academic scholar has a net worth of around $800,000.