Niles celebrates black history through inventionPublished 10:45am Monday, March 4, 2013
Throughout history, African Americans have played an important role in advancing the way we work and play through invention.
Madam C.J. Walker became a self-made millionaire developing and selling unique cosmetics in the early 1900s.
Garrett Morgan is credited with securing a U.S. patent for an early form of a traffic signal in the 1920s.
More recently, Janet Emerson Bashen became the first African American woman to hold a patent for a software invention.
These are just three of 14 African American inventors highlighted by Niles High School students at a special program Feb. 22 during black history month in the school’s auditorium.
The program saw students perform skits about African American inventors interspersed with student music performances.
“It was a big success,” said Adrienne Blanton, assistant principal at Niles High School. “We had fun and learned a lot too. Black history is very important to us.”
Junior Leyla Davis performed a skit as Betty Harris, inventor of a spot test for identifying explosives in a field environment.
“Learning what she did — it is a very good motivator for me,” Davis said.
Sophomore Christian Pratt said she too was motivated by the subject of her skit — Bashen.
“It made me inspired because if I work hard and use my mind I could make something that is used by people on a daily basis,” she said.
The program was spearheaded by Blanton with the help of volunteers with the school’s Daughters of Finesse program — Lisa Busby, Marcie Taylor and Angela McCray. Staff member, Jeff Kyles, also helped with the program.