Little Johnny goes to school, and he doesn’t see in the history books anyone who looks just like him being part of building this nation…. Then he goes home and watches TV and he people who look just like him playing sports, all the things that he is unlikely to achieve. And he gets frustrated…A few years later, we see Little Johnny getting arrested on TV, and we ask “what happened to him? He was such a good boy.” It didn’t have to happen. Anyone of us could have taken little Johnny in our hands & give him a black history lesson he would never forget…
We could point to the soles of the shoes on his feet and tell him that it was Jan Ernst Matzeliger who invented the machine that made it. We can point to the street light and tell him it was Garrett Morgan who was responsible for it… We could tell him about Elijah McCoy, who was so prolific that when people saw a new invention, they would ask: “Is that a McCoy? Is that the real McCoy?” You had a racist like David Duke saying the phrase and he didn’t even know it was about a black man.
We can talk about Thomas Edison. You didn’t know he was black? He wasn’t. But Lewis Latimer, was, and he invented the carbon filament that allowed the light bulb to last longer than three days.
It’s not just our black boys. All boys can be shown that their people have contributed to American history.
Dr. Benjamin Carson, the famed Johns Hopkins surgeon and author, explaining at yesterday’s fundraiser held by consulting firm Navigant for one of his eponymous reading rooms, why we must do so much to help young men from poor and minority backgrounds get the high quality education and literacy they need for brighter futures.