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BLABBERMOUT’ BABSIE: Brush up ‘pon yuh black hist’ry!


BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

BLABBERMOUT’ BABSIE: Brush up ‘pon yuh black hist’ry!

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Dear Nesta,
You know wuh dis monf is? Or de col’ got yuh brain so addle dat yuh fuhget dis is Black History Month, introduce by African Amuricans to help gi’e de younger generation – an’ all ethuh black people – dah sense o’ pride dat seem to be lackin’ dese days? Is good to learn ’bout all de impo’tant contributions by black people – not only in Amurica! I en shame to tell yuh dat I en had a clue ’bout some o’ de inventions I been hearin’ bout recently, an’ it really mek yuh feel good to know dat black people responsible fuh layin’ de groun’work fuh a lot o’ inventions in use today! Somehow, doh, Europeans would come ’long an’ “re-discover” a lot o’ dese t’ings an’ get de praise!
I sure you gine ’gree wid me dat durin’ we schooldays – long ago in de distant pas’ – it woulda been helpful to also get acquaint wid we own hist’ry, ’stead o’ learnin’ only ‘bout all de diff’rent kings an’ queens o’ Europe an’ de various wars dat tek place in dem times. I had to know ’bout King Henry an’ ’e six wives, de War o’ de Roses, Hundrud Years War, de Crusades, King Arfur an’ ’e Knights an’ wuhevuh else was happenin’ at de time. One day, when I c’n rattle off de diff’rent names an’ dates in order, I had to spen’ time in detention to refresh muh mem’ry!   
It was awright to learn English an’ European history, but ethuh people – black people – was mekkin’ hist’ry too, so why we wasn’ hearin’ ‘bout dem? Jes’ fancy, all de time I was mowin’ down peanut butter sandwiches, I en had a clue, a black man – George Washington Carver – had a han’ in bringin’ it to de table!  
I glad school trildrun now learnin’ de names o’ famous black people, not only Amurican, but Caribbean as well! We own Bussa, Samuel Jackman Prescod, Marcus Garvey, Jamaica, Touissaint L’Ouverture, Haiti – aldoh when I t’ink o’ how great ‘e mek dah country at dat time, an’ look at it today, I still cyahn onderstan’ how t’ings could change so drastic fuh Haiti.  
Black History Month in Febry, is de time to highlight de names o’ bofe men an’ women dat had a han’ in helpin’ wid de development o’ Amurica. I gine jes’ mention one or two an’ you could look up de res’ fuh yuhself! When people in cities wid dem tall skyscrapers, ridin’ up an’ down in de elevator, I wonder hummuch o’ dem know, or even cay, dat de inventor was a black man – Alexander Miles!   
Long, long ago, befo’ dis electronic age, people used all sorts o’ different means to communicate, startin’ wid cave drawin’s! Some time in de 1890s, William Purvis, a black man, was able to design de fountain pen, an’ anethuh one, John Love, de pencil sharpener, bofe very important at dah time! Now we got de Internet an’ de various spin-offs, dem two instruments beginnin’ to tek a back seat!
Several women also lef duh mark ’pon hist’ry! One sech woman was Madame Walker, pioneer in hair producks fuh Black women. She invention o’ de “hot comb” to straighten hair, would ha’ to be de forerunner o’ all dese hair straightenin’ creams an’ gels we got today! Mo’ recently, we also hear ’bout a Dr Patricia Bath, a top notch Ophthalmologis’, inventin’ a device involvin’ laser eye surgery, tekkin’ off cataracts wid much mo’ accuracy dan befo’! An’ I could go on an’ on . . .
Good to know yuh roots, an’ Black History Month is one way o’ helpin’ we to do jes’ dat!   
Go check yuh histr’y books an’ start brushin’ up! Yuh might get a pleasant surprise!
Tek care o’ yuhself!
Yuh frien’, Babsie

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