Today’s Black Fact: Rashaad Pressley Rashaad Jamal Pressley is a gifted musician. He’s been playing the piano since age 6. He plays for 2 churches on the weekends. He is currently working in music production, creating his own music, blending samples to create amazing tracks, and is working with a grammy award winning producer on an upcoming project. He’s also working another talented, upcoming group on an album. Music for him comes naturally. He lives and breathes it. He puts everything he has into all that he does, inspiring others to be the best as well. I decided to spotlight him, because he’s working hard to be the best at what he loves to do (not just because he’s my husband!!).

Today’s Black Fact: Garrett Morgan Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. was an inventor who invented a type of respiratory protective hood (conceptually similar to modern gas masks and a type of traffic signal. Garrett Morgan patented a safety hood and smoke protector after seeing firefighters struggling from the smoke they encountered in the line of duty and hearing about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. His device used a wet sponge to filter out smoke and cool the air. He was able to sell his invention around the country, sometimes using the tactic of having a hired white actor take credit rather than revealing himself as its inventor. Between 1913 and 1921, a number of versions of traffic signaling devices, both mechanical and automated, were patented by various inventors. Of these, only a few saw production or implementation on public roads. Morgan’s device, first patented in 1923, was a hand-cranked, manually operated…

Today’s Black Fact: Jan Matzeliger Jan Ernst Matzeliger was an African-American inventor in the shoe industry. Matzeliger was born in Paramaribo (then Dutch Guyana, now Suriname). His father was a Dutch engineer and his mother a black Surinamese slave. He had some interest in mechanics in his native country, but his efforts at inventing a shoe-lasting machine began in the United States after a life of working in a machinery shop. He settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 19 after working as a sailor. By 1877, he spoke adequate English and had moved to Massachusetts. After a while, he went to work in a shoe factory. At the time, no machine could attach the upper part of a shoe to the sole. This had to be done manually by a “hand laster”; a skilled one could produce 50 pairs in a ten-hour day. After five years of work, Matzeliger obtained a…