Monday, February 19, 2018

Black Female Inventors Then and Now

Black Female Inventors Then and Now
As we come to the close of Black History Month and begin the celebration of Women’s History Month in March I thought it would be a good idea to write about a few of the many Black female inventors then and now. Many of the inventions that we often take for granted were created by black inventors. 

There was a time when the U.S. patent office would not recognize inventions created by blacks, allowing whites to take credit for black inventions. Women inventors not only had to deal with racism but they also had male chauvinism to contend with.

Sarah Goode was the first African American female to receive a U.S. patent in 1885, born a slave Mrs. Good and her husband moved to Chicago after the civil war to open a furniture store. Many of her customers lived in very small apartments. Mrs. Good invented a folding cabinet bed, which could be converted into a cabinet desk when not in use. This was the forerunner of the Murphy and sofa bed.

Mariam Benjamin was the second African American female to receive a U.S. patent in 1888 for inventing the Gong and signal chair. This type of chair allowed for hotel guest to push a button to request waiter service. This invention was later adopted by the United States House of Representatives. Ms. Benjamin’s invention became a precursor to the signaling systems used by airlines that allow passengers to reach flight attendants for service.

Dr. Patricia Bath was the first Africa American women to receive a patent for a medical purpose in 1988 for her invention the Laserphaco Probe a medical device that makes use of a laser to remove cataracts quickly and nearly without pain. Dr. Bath was born in Harlem received her B.A. in chemistry from Hunter College and her Doctoral degree from Howard University’s Medical School.

Marie Van Brittan invented the first close circuit TV security system in1969. Born and raised in Jamaica Queens Mrs. Van Brittan and her husband Albert Brown who worked as an electronics technician installed the first home  audio and video security system in their home at 151-58 135th Avenue Jamaica, New York, their address is listed on the patent.

Dr.  Hadiyah Nicole Green became an orphan at an early age she was raised by her Aunt and Uncle. Dr. Green lost both her aunt and uncle to cancer. Her aunt refused to be treated with chemotherapy and she watched her uncle suffer from the side-effect of chemo until he died.

This experience motivated Dr. Green to become a distinguished physicist. Dr. Green’s ground breaking research of using laser technology to insert nanoparticles to kill cancer cells has a great deal of promise. This type of laser technology has shown a 100% cancer tumor regression in mice and my one day replace the need for chemotherapy.

The future is bright for African American female inventors and they are getting younger. Maddy Maxey at the age of 20 is the first African American female to interface fashion with technology creating electronic textile making clothing with intelligence at her workplace in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

At the age of 7 Zora Bell became the youngest person to create a mobile APP video game. The first grader from West Philadelphia presented her full version mobile game at the University of Pennsylvania’s Bootstrap Expo in 2012. We are who we think we are, never allow fear and doubt keep you from being all that you can be.

The Father of Black History

The Father of Black History
I was raised by my grandparents Elizabeth and Joseph Woodson in Williamston South Carolina until it was time for me to start school, and every summer after until I was about thirteen.  My grandfather died in 1952 two years after his famous cousin Dr. Carter G. Woodson also known as the “Father of Black History”.

Carter G Woodson was born in New Canton, Virginia on December 19, 1875, his parents James Woodson and Eliza Riddle Woodson had seven children Carter was their fourth child. Young Carter worked as a sharecropper and a miner to help his family, he did not begin high school until his late teens. He was a brilliant student and completed a four year course of study in less than two years.

Carter Woodson attended Berea College in Kentucky for about two years; he left college to work for the United States in the Philippines as an education superintendent. After returning to the United States he continued his studies at the University of Chicago where he earned a bachelor’s and Master’s degree. Woodson went on to become the second African American to receive a Ph.D from Harvard University after W.E.B. Du Bois. Woodson became dedicated to the field of African American history.

In 1915 Dr. Woodson returned to Chicago to participate in a national celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation. The exhibits highlighting achievements of Black people since the abolition of slavery inspire Woodson to do more to celebrate black history and heritage. Before leaving Chicago he helped form the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) a year later in 1916 Woodson developed the Journal of Negro History.

In February 1924 Dr. Woodson began his campaign to create a week to celebrate Negro History. Dr. Woodson chose the third week in February in recognition of the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln February 12th and Frederick Douglass February 14th. Douglass was born a slave so his actual birthdate was unknown but he chose the 14th as his birthday.

Negro History week was officially launched in 1926. During the rise of the civil rights movement younger members of ASNLH (which was changed to the Association for the Study of African American History) urged the organization to shift to a month long celebration of black history. In 1976 on the 50th anniversary of the first Negro History Week, the association officially made the shift to Black History Month.

Dr. Woodson in his famous book “The Miseducation of the Negro” writes that “If you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his proper place and will stay in it” My mom Anna Woodson-Rogers often told me about her dad reading to her about black history from The “Negro History Bulletin” a mail order bulletin published by his cousin Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Black history was not taught in schools at that time.  

In this digital age it is still extremely important for members of the African diaspora both young and old to learn and understand their history. “Know Thy Self” is an ancient Kemetic saying inscribed at the entrance of temples of wisdom and ancient mysteries.  I would recommend the Hidden Colors video series produced by Tariq Nasheed for family viewing in celebration of Black History Month.

Muscadine the Super Grape

Muscadine the Super Grape
I recently learned about the health benefits of muscadine grapes, this might be old news to many reading this article but it is new news to me.  I am sharing this information because I am sure that I am not the only one that was not aware of why muscadline grapes are known as the super grapes. There are many reasons why this title is a scientific fact. Muscadine grapes have the highest rating on the ORAC Scale for fruit, and berries. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbing Capacity.

The ORAC scale is an antioxidant rating of foods and beverages,  muscadine grape seed has a ORAC rating of 895, the next highest rating is Vinfera grape seed at 273. We all know apples are healthy because of their antioxdent content. An apple a day will keep the doctor away, but apples have a rating of 30 on the Antioxidant Oracle Scale. One would have to eat 30 apples a day to match muscadine grape’s ORAC  rating of 895.

Most grapes have 19 pairs of chromosomes, muscadine grapes are the only grapes that has 20 pairs of chromosomes which contributes to the fact that muscadine grapes have 6 times the Resveratrol content of regular grapes and the only grapes that contain Ellagic acid. Scientists led by Dr. David Sinclair have proven that Resveratrol is the strong antioxidant found in red wine which provides the answer to the question as to why the French who have a diet high in fat and tend to smoke more than Americans have a very low rate of heart disease.

Dr. Sinclair’s research along with other researchers have concluded that resveratrol is a natural substance that can prolong life. Ellagic acid is currently the subject on numerous scientific studies due to its possible anti-cancer and tumor fighting effects. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) published the results of a study on September 1, 2007 concluding that laboratory experiments showed that the skin of muscadine grapes can inhibit growth of prostate cancer cells in the laboratory. Is there any wonder why muscadine grapes are called supper grapes?

Muscadine grapes have a very thick skin and a lot of seeds which is why you don’t see them much in super markets, they grow in the SouthEastern part of the United States with some of the largest farms being in North Carolina. The harsh and unpredictable weather of states like North Carolina make the muscadine grape stronger than any  other grape, no other grape can survive in the climates that Muscadine grapes thrive in which is why these grapes are stronger and have more antioxidants and nutrients than any other grape.

Now you know that the healthiest wine you can drink is made from the muscadine grape I have yet to taste any so I can’t make any recommendations, if you find a good one please let me know. The Ki Center will have a supply of Muscqy by the end of this month. The Muscqy natural veggie caps are one of the best ways for young and old to experience the many positive health effects of muscadine grape seed.
For more information on the health benefits of muscadine grape seed google it there is a lot of information and studies online. You can also send me an email at or call 646 329-6727 if you would like to purchase a bottle of Muscqy from the Ki Center when the supply comes in at the end of this month

Blockchain Technology II

Blockchain Technology II               
By: William A Rogers

Last week I introduced the term Blockchain Technology (BT) to many readers for the first time which is not surprising only 1% of the world population have started to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Most people have heard of Bitcoin but there are many different types of Crypto coins (known in some circles as Altcoins) currently in circulation some may become more valuable then Bitcoin most will not but what they all have in common is they operated on blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is a database which holds a record of transactions that have been verified by participants on the blockchain called miners. I have $30.00 worth of a crypo coin and I wanted to buy an item worth $30.00 and the seller accepts my crypocurrency , the offer is made the seller will have an online wallet to receive my $30.00 dollars in crypo coin and I will send the coins from my online wallet. Miners will use super computers called mining rigs that use mathematic and cryptographic technology to solve the cryptographic problems in my coins to verify and complete transaction which then becomes a block.

This might seem to be complex but it is very important knowledge to have at this time. Just as many people did not understand how to use the internet just a few years ago thanks to Amazon, Facebook and Google IT is no longer a convenience it has become a necessary. Blockchain technology will soon have the same effect on the world. Crypocurrency  is just the beginning there will come a time where most safe, transparent transactions in all commercial and private areas will use BT.

I know this is a lot but my point here is while investing in crypocurrency can be risky investing in blockchain technology might be a better choice. Mining rigs can be a good investment but not in the US or Canada but if you know people in Europe, Asia or the Caribbean there can be a number of great investment options I can give you a few tips if you are interested.

Companies like Advanced Micro Devices INC. (AMD) and Nvidia (NVDA) should be looked at as investment options they make the GPU chips that run the mining rigs used on the blockchain. Many refer to these companies as pick and shovel firms. Just like in the days of the California gold rush the companies that made and sold jeans, picks and shovels made fortunes for their investors.

Some may wonder why I am writing articles about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Years ago when I first started to write in this paper most of my articles focused on the importance of using information technology (IT). All things happen for a reason. I hope that my early articles on IT helped to improve the quality of life for someone who took the time to follow up and use it.

If blockchain technology is a new concept take some time to look into it and crypocurrency the first practical use of BT that the public in general is aware of.  Millions will be made by those who develop and create other ways to use and invest in this new technology.  Perhaps someone reading this article if so perhaps that’s why I was guided to write it; if that person is you, don’t forget who told you about it. Send me an email at

Blockchain Technology I

Blockchain Technology
A little over 20 years ago I became aware of how the understanding and use of information technology (IT) as a tool for empowerment would soon become a major factor in personal and community economic development opportunities not only in Harlem but thought the world.
In 2000 as Director of the Office of Urban and Governmental  Affairs at the City College of New York , my office hosted one of the first two day information technology community awareness conference for Harlem residence “Teach Harlem”. The IT awareness conference was in partnership with Columbia University along with organizations and businesses in the civic, public and private sectors. I wrote a statement in the conference program that “the greatest form of discrimination in the information age will be the lack of access and understanding of the use of information technology.

It took some time for many of the people in my network of family, friends and associates to fully understand what I was trying to say about the importance of IT awareness at that time; but now some of those same people would not think of living or doing business without the World Wide Web. Information technology has become the most effective way for the world to move information and data. I am now convinced that Blockchain technology (BT) will soon become the most effective way for the world to move currency and to trade services and objects of value.

I received a tremendous response from my recent article on Crytocurrency , I apologize for not getting back to some of your calls. My email is the best way to get to me; but I am very happy about the interest. We all know about Bitcoin and other types of Cryptocoins but just as 20 years ago I thought it was important to understand the game changing power of IT I believe it is just as important to now become aware of the future game changing power of BT.

The bitcoin blockchain is the most used due to the  current value of  bitcoin but a blockchain  can be used by any form of virtual currency coin also known as cryptocurrency. Blockchain technology allows value to be exchanged between two parties without a third-party. BT technology will authenticate and log any transaction and make it available in a public ledger called a block.

This might sound complex but most people do not know how the internet works but they know how to use it. If you have a business that provides a service it might be wise to explore how to receive the value of your service in cryptocurrency. Soon you will begin to see cryptocurrency ATMs and credit cards that will not be control by banks or credit card companies; blockchain technology will eliminate the middleman.
In the near future blockchain technology will not only be used for digital cash transactions. Just as creativity has produced many ways to use information technology, there will be many creative ways developed to use BT as a tool to transfer goods and services.  

 This will be a two part article next week I give more details about how blockchain technology works with a focus on crypto mining.
Don’t allow the hype about bitcoin miss lead you blockchain technology is what makes the bitcoin and any other type of crypto coins work. This is a very exciting time BT will in time have the effect  on the use and exchange of currency as IT has had on how we use and exchange information.