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Education Quilt


David Duke and Black Inventors


By William Larsha, Sr.

The Mid-South Tribune

The Mid-South Tribune ONLINE

And the Black Information Highway

Little did that David Duke fellow, the Klansman, know that many things he was about to experience are associated with the American economy and inventions by African Americans.

The Duke fellow was on his way to play (1) golf when he came upon a flashing (2) traffic light where a main street and railroad tracks intersected. Duke obeyed the signaling light by pushing his American-made (3) shoe down on the (4) air brake pedal, and bringing his automobile to a stop.

1.      Golf tee: invented by George T. Grant, 1899.

2.      Traffic light: invented by Garrett A. Morgan, 1923

3.      Shoe machine: The shoe lasting machine was invented by Jan Matzaeliger, 1883. His invention revolutionized the shoe industry worldwide. However, he died poor.

4.      Automatic air brakes: Granville T. Woods in 1887 invented an automatic air brake unit.

Duke noticed the time on the big (5) clock hanging on the tower of the freight yard building. He also noticed two men working in the freight yard on an (6) electric switching unit for railroad lines. Seeing the time, he decided to use his (7) cellular phone to notify the other golfers that he would be late.

5.      Clock: The first clock actually made in America was constructed by Benjamin Banneker (mathematician, inventor, Almanac publisher, and surveyor) who help lay out the blueprint for the city of Washington, D.C.

6.      Electric switch for railroad: P. B. Downing patented an electric switch for railroad in 1890.

7.      Cellular phone: A cellular phone was invented by Henry T. Sampson, 1971. And although the telephone itself was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, Lewis H. Latimer (draftsman and inventor) drew the required mechanical drawings, and assisted in preparing the application necessary for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone to be patented in 1876.

Knowing that his wait at the flashing traffic lights would be lengthy, Duke spent his time watching the long line of freight cars moving slowly down the tracks, stopping now and then, and (8) automatically coupling additional cars. One freight car passing by carried a sign which read (9) “Lubricator—The real McCoy”. Another car revealed that it was transporting boxes of (10) light bulbs. Still another car, refrigerated with an (11) air conditioning unit for box cars, had pictures of (12) ice cream.

8.      Automatic car coupler: Invented by Andrew Beard, 1897.

9.      Lubricating cup: A device for lubricating moving parts of an engine while in operation was invented by Elijah McCoy in 1872. The McCoy invention became in such demand until an expression was born when an engine one was equipped with the device, “It’s the real McCoy.”

10.  Light bulb: The incandescent light bulb with a carbon filament was invented by Lewis H. Latimer, 1881.

11.  Air conditioning unit:  by Frederick M. Jones, 1949.

12.  Ice cream: Augustus Jackson, a Philadelphia confectioner, was known in 1831, as the man who invented ice cream.


  Duke noticed a postman on his side of the railroad tracks placing letters in a (13) mail box in front of a large house where on the porch a man played his (14) guitar. And knowing that he would be late for the golf game, Duke reached into a (15) paper bag and removed some food to consume: (16) a peanut butter sandwich; (17) sugar cookies; (18) potato chips; and a jar of (19) instant coffee.

13.  Mail box: Paul L. Downing, 1891.

14.  Guitar: Robert Fleming, Jr., 1886.

15.  Paper bag: Machine for making paper bags invented by William B. Purvis, 1884. Purvis patented 10 paper bag machines between 1884-1894.

16.  Peanut butter: Dr. George Washington Carver

17.  Vacuum evaporating pan for refining sugar: invented by Norbert Rillieux, 1848. His pan revolutionized the refining of sugar.

18.  Potato chip: The potato chip of Hyram S. Thomas, Saratoga chef, was greatly celebrated in 1832.

19.  Instant coffee: Dr. George Washington Carver.


* From The Mid-South Tribune/Black Information Highway archives.



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