Celebrating Black History Month and the diversity of Fayette and Coweta

Sherri Jefferson is an advocate, author, and an attorney. Transforming the lives of children is her passion. Transferring knowledge is her profession.

Whether you are strolling the nature trails of Peachtree City, stopping at the traffic signal while driving through the picturesque scenes of Senoia, or playing on the best landscaped golf courses in America, you are part of black history.

Whether you are donating blood to the Red Cross or Life South, dropping clothing off at the local cleaners, or simply reading a book at the local library, then you are experiencing the manifestations of black history.

In his message about the observance of Black History, former President Ronald Reagan said, “I urge all Americans, particularly those in our schools and civic groups, to study our history and incorporate in their activities projects to help us all understand those individuals who played so great a part in our development.”

February is Black History Month, and as part of its observance, we examine the contributions made by African-Americans. Unfortunately, the focus of black history has been in the areas of music and art. While music is an expressive form of educating people about black history, it is not the totality of black history. Beyond the music lies a plethora of contributions of black Americans, which changes the way all Americans function in life.

On occasion, we will discuss the works of George Washington Carver, which includes inventions that saved lives from polio, or we will discuss Madame C.J. Walker, aka Sarah Breedlove, as the world’s first female millionaire and inventor of hair care products.

Over the last decade, the emphasis has shifted to recognizing Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and their role in the civil rights movement. The contributions of black Americans extend to life-saving procedures and advanced technology.

If you ever watched cable television or used a touch-tone telephone with caller ID, then you have experienced the invention of Dr. Shirley Jackson.

Every time you turn on a light in your home, school, or community, then you have observed the invention of Lewis Latimer because without the carbon filament, we would be in the dark. Furthermore, we enjoy the benefits of the hot and hazy days in Georgia because Latimer also invented the first air conditioning unit. Moreover, if you ever traveled by train and needed to use the restroom, then we must be grateful for his invention of restrooms on the train.

Most of the beautiful homes of Fayette and Coweta counties are protected by home security systems, whose inventions are patented by Marie Van Brittan Brown.

Our precious lives are protected through the inventions of heart surgery, pacemakers, preservation of blood plasma, vaccinations and antibiotics. We can thank Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, Otis Boykin, Dr. Charles Drew, and George Washington Carver for these invention.
IBM employees in Peachtree City and across this country can thank Otis Boykin for his invention of the IBM computer. All Americans can be thankful for the computer because we can easily store information, create designs, and have access to digital and social media platforms. Marian Croak created the Voice Over Internet Protocol.

Our weekend chores are easier due to the inventions of black Americans. From the dust pan to iron, and from watering the lawn to mowing it, these products were invented by Lloyd P. Ray, Sarah Boone, Thomas W. Stewart, Joseph H. Smith and John Burr.

Our golf outings are enjoyable because we can tee up, thanks to George Franklin Grant.

As we come to a stop, the traffic signal was invented by Garrett Morgan. He also invented the gas mask used by firefighters.

As we reach our destination by correlating black history with our daily lives and seek to understand the role of Black Americans and their contribution to society, we stop at Pinewood Studio.

Pinewood filmed the Black Panther. The Black Panther movie is the first comic story featuring a predominately African-American cast. The movie will bridge the gap between the comic and sci-fi genre and Hollywood’s interpretation of the role of black Americans in this space.

Local child actor Clifford Gay will be featured in the historic upcoming film that will be in theaters on Friday, February 16. Fayette and Coweta counties will showcase its diversity and celebration of Black History Month by supporting the works of its local citizens. Fandango announced that presales of the film has already outsold all previous superhero films.

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