During a period of time when blacks truly were disenfranchised their accomplishments and contributions to America were unprecedented. Today, when blacks like Spike Lee, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the Obamas, et al. enjoy an America the first generation, post-slavery blacks could not have dreamed of, their chief contributions are complaints and discord. Ergo, the question that begs an answer is what kind of legacy will these Erebusic ner’er-do-wells leave for future generations?
Brilliant Americans of color who actually knew the pain of discrimination left all of America a legacy of accomplishment and invention.
Garrett Morgan, is the inventor of the first traffic light and the gas mask. He was the father of what we know today as intelligent traffic systems. Morgan established a tailoring shop that employed 32 people and established the Cleveland Call newspaper.
Percy L. Julian, developed a way to remove and prepare soybean products such as cortisone to treat arthritis and an extract used in the treatment of glaucoma.
Jane Wright, was the former director of the Cancer Research Foundation, who formulated mithramycin, a drug that has proved promising in fighting cancer.
William A. Lester Jr., a theoretical chemist did research on the troubles of high-velocity molecular collisions and was chosen to manage the National Resource for Computation in Chemistry.
St. Elmo Brady, in 1916 became the first black in the history of the United States to earn a doctorate in chemistry. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Illinois for work done in Noyes Laboratory.
James Durham, born in 1762 was the first regularly recognized black physician in the United States. Born a slave in Philadelphia, he was purchased by a Scottish physician in New Orleans who hired him to perform medical services.
Daniel Hale Williams, was a black surgeon who performed the first successful open heart surgery? He was the founder of Provident Hospital in Chicago in 1891. He was also the only black charter member of the American College of Surgeons.
History is replete with the legacies of black men like Norbert Rillieux, who was born in 1806. He was an inventor and engineer whose patented inventions that revolutionized the sugar-refining industry.
Only the constraints of space limit my enumerating the legacy of the “houses that our fathers built,” as Jung put it.
But today the legacy of those houses has “fallen into shambles.” Today, rather than seeing a careful enumeration and inclusion of these great Americans into the history of America, we see many blacks contributing to the erosion of their own well-being, which contributes to the erosion of the overall well-being of America.
The question that begs an answer is whether black America will leave a fruitful, positive, legacy for future generations of Americans? Or will they leave a legacy of self-segregation, rap/gangster wars, abortion, single-parent homes, blame, animus, and resentment?
Will their legacy for tomorrow be that of undereducated children with dreams of athletic endeavor as a means of accomplishment or will it be that of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Major Robert Lawrence Jr.?
Or will it be that of Jesse Jackson, Harry Belafonte and Obama – who embody all of the most reprehensible qualities heretofore attributed to black men?