Written by:
Lester Holloway

Africans who changed the world

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Kwame P. Aboagye pays tribute to a selection of African ancestors who changed the world

This October is African History month. Yet many Africans are still unaware of the achievements of those who have come before us and who had a massive impact globally.

If you take for instance, Brother Ben Banneker built sites in Washington D.C., taught maths as well as astronomy and invented the time of the hour.

Brother Augustus Jackson invented ice-creams.

Brother William Purvis invented the pen.

Brother George Washington Carver invented things from a sweet potato, a soybean and a peanut such as paint, soap, shampoo, vinegar, bread, coffee, dyes, pomades and Worcester sauce. He also a lecturer at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

Brother Otis Boykin invented the smoke alarm, as well as the pacemaker and invented computers for IBM.

Brother Phil Emewagali also invented computers to do with fuel supplies.

Brother Charles Drew invented the blood donor plasmas.

Brother Dan Hale Williams notable for open heart surgeries.

Brother Fred Jones invented the fridge.

Brother George Caruthers invented a device camera for the Apollo 13 space shuttle.

Brother Fred Gregory, Brother Ron McNair, Brother Guion Bluford and Sister Mae C. Jemison travelling around space.

Brother J.L Love invented the sharpener.

Brother Nat Alexander invented the folding chair.

Sister Sarah Goode invented the folding bed combined with a desk.

Brother Lonnie G. Johnson invented the water soaker toy gun.

Sister Bess Coleman obtained her license to fly around the world.

The Harlem Reissuance inspired Africans in poetries, music and dramas. Brother Paul Laurence Dunbar, Brother Langston Hughes, Brother Jacob Lawrence, Brother Claude McKay, Brother James Weldon Johnson, Brother Ralph Ellison, Brother Louis Armstrong, Brother Thelonious Monk, Brother Jelly Roll Morton, Sister Gwen Brooks, Sister Ella Fitzgerald, Sister Jessie Fauset and Sister Dorothy Dandridge were all part of our movement that made sure that Africans didn’t forget their roots and realities.

Africans that have contributed in sports such as Brother Muhammad Ali who won gold in Rome, fifty-six years ago and won the world heavyweight title three times, fifty-two years ago, forty-two years ago and thirty-eight years ago. Brother Jack Johnson who was the first African male to win the world heavyweight title, but he met a lot controversies including being plotted by the FBI.

Brother Joe Louis defended his world heavyweight title more than ten times with his brutal finishing Brother Sugar Ray Robinson was the best pound for pound of them all.

Brother Teofilio Stevenson from Cuba had won three gold medals and his first was in Munich, thirty-four years ago and he didn’t turn professional, because he was interested in helping his brothers and sisters in Cuba come out of poverty.

Brother Arthur Ashe winning the Men’s singles title, forty-one years ago and he first man to do so. Sister Athena Gibson winning her Ladies singles titles back to back fifty-nine years ago and fifty-eight years ago and Sister Venus and Sister Serena Williams smashing her records.

Brother Jackie Robinson breaking into the baseball barriers with the Brooklyn Dodgers and it open the doors for Brother Hank Aaron who smashed records after records in the sport as well as Brother Willie Mays did the same.
Brother Jim Brown and Brother Walter Payton dominated the NFL and breaking records too.

Brother Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Brother Bill Russell, Brother Julius Erving, Brother Willis Reed, Brother Oscar Robertson and Brother Wilt Chamberlain dominated the NBA scene and opened the doors for Brother Earvin Magic Johnson, Brother Michael Jordan, Brother Shaq O’Neil and Brother Scott Pippin to continue where those in the sport dominated it.

The Harlem Globetrotters with their outrageous skills and style made people love them globally.

Brother Jesse Owens won gold in Hitler’s backyard to make him tear his hair out. Brother Carl Lewis won his first of gold medals in Los Angeles, thirty-two years ago.

Brother Daley Thompson won his gold medal as athlete in his decathlon events also in Los Angeles, thirty-two years ago.

Sister Tessa Sanderson produces her mighty throw in her javelin, thirty-two years ago in Los Angeles.

Brother Bob Beamon produced the biggest jump in his high jump in Mexico, forty-eight years ago, but it will be remember for Brother John Carlos and Brother Tommie Smith raising the Black Power fist sign to air to condemn the racial injustice happening during the civil rights struggles in the United States.

Brother Arthur Wharton and Brother Walter Tull despite meeting racial abuse by kicking the ball, they never allow it to discourage them. They opened the doors for Brother John Barnes, Brother Howard Gayle, Brother Clyde Best, Brother Viv Anderson, Brother Roger Palmer, Brother Earl Barrett, Brother David Rocastle and Brother Ian Wright.

When it comes soul music then you shouldn’t be that surprise of the gift that Africans whether it is from Brother Marvin Gaye, Brother Sam Cooke, Brother Otis Redding, Brother Al Green, Brother Isaac Hayes, Sister Gladys Knight, Sister Aretha Franklin and Sister Dionne Warwick.

The Supremes, the Staple Singers, the Jackson Five and the Detroit Spinners did the same with their soul classics.

The GAP Band were also a funk group from Tulsa, Oklahoma, they dedicated their classics to the victims of the racial massacre eighty-five years ago. Brother Charlie Wilson was their lead singer along with his brothers Ron and Robert. Their classics were oops upside your Head, thirty-nine years ago, Burn Rubber, thirty-six years ago and you dropped a Bomb on me thirty-three years ago.

There was also Earth, Wind and Fire and Kool and the Gang.

Brother Michael Jackson and his Thriller single thirty-four years ago sold globally even more than his Bad single, twenty-nine years ago.

Brother Malcolm X and Brother Martin Luther King Junior fought for our rights against racial injustice during the civil rights struggles.

Brother Marcus Garvey founded his Universal Negro Improvement Association- African Communities League movement that had a grocery, a millinery, the Negro World, a land program for Liberia and the Black Star Line.

Brother Paul Cuffee built ships to help Africans return home. Brother Martin Delany opposes African people returning home because he was denied land from Liberia, but he changed his views by going to Dahomey.

Brother Fred Douglass wrote and edited his journal, the North Star and felt that African people should remain in the United States.

Brother Edward Wilmot Blyden migrated to Liberia and was editor of his Liberia Herald. Brother David Walker encouraged Africans to never forget their roots and realities and stand up against being enslaved.

Sister Fannie Lou Hamer encouraged Africans to vote as well as fight to be seen as citizens especially standing up against the racial injustice in Mississippi which included the lynching of Emmett Till and the murder of Medgar Evers as well as James Meredith being sent backwards and forwards from college.

Sister Claudia Jones who fought against racial injustice during the upheavals in Notting Hill in London as well as wrote for her West Indian Gazette and organize the carnival.

Africans should never about Madame CJ Walker, Brother Alex Puskin, Brother Matthew Henson, Brother Harold Washington, Brother Booker T. Washington etc.

Brother Bernie Grant, Sister Diane Abbott and Brother Paul Boateng entered the House of Parliament, twenty-nine years ago.

Brother Richard Pryor brought laughter into us by turning issues into realities. He opened the door for Brother Eddie Murphy, Brother Steve Harvey and Brother Chris Rock.

Brother Dick Gregory was about political issues in his comedy and he still in the civil rights struggle.

Our scholars such as Brother John Henrik Clarke, Brother Ivan van Sertima, Brother Anthony T. Browder, Brother Yosef ben-Jochannan, Brother Jacob Caruthers, Brother Len Jeffries and Brother Asa G. Hilliard taught you and I that we have a history that the world turned a complete blind eye.

Africans were in other parts of the world apart from in our cities of Conakry, Accra, Cairo, Lagos, Addis Ababa and Dakar such as Melbourne, Bombay, Beijing, Tokyo, Manila, Acapulco, Auckland, Stonehenge and Hanoi and we go to thank both Brother Ivan van Sertima and Brother Runoko Rashidi.

Africans mustn’t forget what we have and what we can still accomplish.

Africans are the first beings on the planet earth and we shouldn’t forget it.

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