Niles High School students put on a program highlighting the contributions African American inventors have made to the United States Feb. 22 during Black History Month. Submitted photo
Niles High School students put on a program highlighting the contributions African American inventors have made to the United States Feb. 22 during Black History Month. Submitted photo

Archived Story

Niles celebrates black history through invention

Published 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.

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