Progressive Baptist Church's Website


Yes, Black Americans Invented That

Skit 1
(Mrs. Johnson enters struggling, carrying a huge display board.)

Student 1:     Mrs. Johnson, let us help you with that!

Student 2:     What is all this, Mrs. Johnson? It's really heavy!

Student 1:     It has inventions written on the back.

Mrs. Johnson:     Not just any inventions. Even though Black inventors helped make the United States what it is today, many of their inventions cannot be found in most school history books or encyclopedias. Let's prove my point. Are you familiar with the cotton gin and the telephone?

Students:     Yes, Ma'am.

Mrs. Johnson:     Those are two well known things invented by White Americans. Can you name those two inventors?

Students:     Eli Whitney and Alexander Graham Bell!

Mrs. Johnson:     Yes! Now since you weren't around when the cotton gin and telephone were invented, how did you get so smart about it?

Students:     We learned that from our history books.

Mrs. Johnson:     Exactly! But these things on our display board may not be mentioned in any history books. Do you know who invented the traffic light? (children shrug shoulders to each question) The ironing board? Potato chips? Those are a few of the many things invented by Black Americans. During slavery days, many Blacks could not get patents so they weren't always credited for their ideas.

Student 2:     What's a patent?

Mrs. Johnson:     A patent is a document that states a person legally owns an invention and no one else can use it without permission.

Student 1:     So Black Americans received patents for all the things on here?

Mrs. Johnson:     Yes; these, and a whole lot more.

Student 2:     So what are you going to do with this?

Mrs. Johnson:     I'm leaving it out as a display for the Black History Tribute. I want to encourage all students to pursue their ideas and dreams, because all these inventions started with someone's idea or dream.

Student 2:     That's neat!

Student 1:     I'm glad we got a chance to see this because now I know it was Garrett Morgan who invented the traffic light and Hyram Thomas who invented the potato chip.

Student 2:     And It was Sarah Boone who invented the ironing board.

Mrs. Johnson:     I'm also glad you got a chance to see this, because Ken, you could be a future Garrett Morgan or George Washington Carver; and Angie could be a Sarah Boone or Madame C. J. Walker. Children, remember to always follow your dreams.

(Following is a list of inventions, inventors, and dates displayed on our board. Toy replicas were used for items which were too large to display on board.)

  • Biscuit Cutter / A. P. Ashbourne / 1875
  • Horseshoe / O. E. Brown / 1892
  • Eggbeater / W. Johnson / 1884
  • Pencil Sharpener / J. L. Love / 1897
  • Hairbrush / L. D. Newman / 1898
  • Fountain Pen / W. B. Purvis / 1890
  • Dust Pan / L. P. Ray / 1897
  • Curtain Rod / S. R. Scottron / 1892
  • Hair Pressing Comb / Madame C. J. Walker / 1905
  • Fire Extinquisher / T. J. Marshall / 1872
  • Golf Tee / G. F. Grant / 1899
  • Potato Chips / Hyram S. Thomas / circa 1870
  • Ice Cream / Augustus Jackson / circa 1870
  • Ironing Board / Sarah Boone / 1892
  • Street Letter Box / P. B. Downing / 1891
  • Gas Mask / Garrett A. Morgan / 1912
  • Traffic Light / Garrett A. Morgan / 1923
  • Bicycle Frame /I. R. Johnson / 1899
  • Range / T. A. Carrington / 1876
  • Guitar / R. F. Flemming / 1886
  • Refrigerator / J. Standard / 1891
  • Wagon / J. W. West / 1870

This Seat is Taken

Skit 2

Narrator:     In Montgomery, Alabama, as all over the South, buses were segregated. The first four rows were reserved for whites only. If the bus was too crowded, Blacks sitting in the rear had to give up their seats to white passengers too. December 1, 1955, the streets were crowded with Christmas shoppers and people hurrying home from work. Rosa Parks was tired. She had been working all day at her job as a seamstress at a department store.

Rosa:     Here comes the bus now. I sure hope there are some seats left. (boards bus and takes a seat)

Narrator:     But a few blocks later, more people boarded the bus.

Driver:     Okay, you coloreds will have to move back. White folks need these seats! (points to Rosa who has remained seated) You too! Move Back!

Rosa:     But there are no seats in back. They're all taken.

Driver:     Well, I guess you will just have to stand. Now won't you?

Rosa:     No. No sir, I won't.

Driver:     (gets up and stands over Rosa) Now look woman! I told you I wanted the seat. Get to the back of the bus and make it light on yourself!.

Rosa:     Driver, I've paid my fare like everyone else. I'm staying right here.

Driver:     Will you listen to this! We'll just see about that gal! (storms off and later returns with police)

Woman:     Some people just don't know their place. Now we've all got to wait here on account of her!

Man:     (speaking to Rosa) Woman, what you want to make trouble for? You know he's gone for the police. Why didn't you just get up?

Rosa:     I didn't think I should have to. I'm tired of getting pushed around. I'm going to make a stand by sitting right here. (driver returns with police. They handcuff Rosa and lead her away as she sings, "Captain of My Ship")

Narrator:     Rosa Parks was arrested and taken to jail for violating the state's segregation code. Her arrest triggered a yearlong bus boycott that awakened the nation to the emerging Civil Rights Movement. It also brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to international prominence. Mrs. Parks' refusal to give up her seat that afternoon in Montgomery guaranteed her place in history as the "Mother of the Movement".

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