Today’s Black Fact: George Washington Carver George Washington Carver was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown; he was born into slavery in Missouri in January 1864. Carver’s reputation is based on his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes, which also aided nutrition for farm families. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life. The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts. He also developed and promoted about 100 products made from peanuts that were useful for the house and farm, including cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline, and nitroglycerin. He received numerous honors for his work, including the Spingarn Medal of…

Today’s Black Fact: Madam C.J. Walker Sara Breedlove a.k.a. Madam C.J. Walker was an African-American businesswoman, hair care entrepreneur and philanthropist. She made her fortune by developing and marketing a hugely successful line of beauty and hair products for black women under the company she founded, Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. Like many women of her era, Sarah experienced hair loss. Because most Americans lacked indoor plumbing, central heating and electricity, they bathed and washed their hair infrequently. The result was scalp disease. Sarah experimented with home remedies and products already on the market until she finally developed her own shampoo and an ointment that contained sulfur to make her scalp healthier for hair growth. At her death she was considered to be the wealthiest African-American woman in America and known to be the first self-made female American millionaire.

Today’s Black Fact: Elijah McCoy Elijah J. McCoy was a black Canadian-American inventor and engineer, who was notable for his 57 U.S. patents, most to do with lubrication of steam engines. Born free in Canada, he returned as a five-year-old child with his family to the United States in 1847, where he lived for the rest of his life and became a US citizen. In Michigan, McCoy could find work only as a fireman and oiler at the Michigan Central Railroad. In a home-based machine shop in Ypsilanti, Michigan, McCoy did his own higher skilled work, developing improvements and inventions. He invented an automatic lubricator for oiling the steam engines of locomotives and ships. On July 12, 1872, he obtained his first patent, “Improvement in Lubricators for Steam-Engines.” The saying the real McCoy’, meaning the real thing, has been associated with Elijah McCoy’s invention of an oil-drip cup, for which…