Everyday Blackness

From traffic lights to elevator doors and door knobs what are the moments of everyday blackness in our lives? The question was sparked in a debate with a couple of friends on how Black culture and inventions in the future should no longer be seen as the exception but as part of the norm of modern societies when suddenly it occurred to me, ‘hold on, what are we talking about! Black culture is already part of the day-to-day norm of modern societies. The knowledge has simply been forgotten, whitewashed, or erased over time.’ In the spirit of uncovering moments of Everyday Blackness here is a list of common everyday objects from the clothes dryer, to the biscuite cutter and dust pan that you use on a daily basis and might never have known were invented by individuals from the global Black community.

– Asoka Esuruoso

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Black Inventors and their Inventions List

air conditioning unit         Frederick M. Jones     July 12, 1949

auto cut-off switch           Granville T. Woods     January 1, 1839

automatic gear shift         Richard Spikes         February 28, 1932

rotating baby buggy                   W.H. Richardson        June 18, 1899

folding bicycle frame                 L.R. Johnson           October 10, 1899

biscuit cutter               A.P. Ashbourne         November 30, 1875

blood plasma bag             Charles Drew           Approx. 1945

chamber commode               T. Elkins               January 3, 1897

clothes dryer                 G. T. Sampson           June 6, 1862

curtain rod                   S. R. Scratton         November 30, 1889

curtain rod support           William S. Grant       August 4, 1896

door knob                     O. Dorsey               December 10, 1878

door stop                     O. Dorsey               December 10, 1878

dust pan                     Lawrence P. Ray        August 3, 1897

egg beater                   Willie Johnson         February 5, 1884

electric lampbulb             Lewis Latimer           March 21, 1882

automatic elevator door     Alexander Miles         October 11, 1867

eye protector                P. Johnson             November 2, 1880

fire escape ladder           J. W. Winters           May 7, 1878

fire extinguisher             T. Marshall             October 26, 1872

folding bed                   L. C. Bailey           July 18, 1899

folding chair                 Brody & Surgwar         June 11, 1889

fountain pen                 W. B. Purvis           January 7, 1890

furniture caster             O. A. Fisher           1878

gas mask                     Garrett Morgan         October 13, 1914

golf tee                     T. Grant               December 12, 1899

guitar                       Robert F. Flemming, Jr. March 3, 1886

deconstructable hair brush      Lydia O. Newman   November 15, 1800’s

horse shoe                   J. Ricks               March 30, 1885

ice cream scooper             A. L. Cralle           February 2, 1897

improv. sugar making         Norbet Rillieux         December 10, 1846

insect-destroyer gun         A. C. Richard           February 28, 1899

ironing board                 Sarah Boone             December 30, 1887

key chain                     F. J. Loudin           January 9, 1894

lawn mower                   L. A. Burr             May 19, 1889

lawn sprinkler               J. W. Smith             May 4, 1897

lemon squeezer               J. Thomas White         December 8, 1893

lock                         W. A. Martin           July 23, 18–

lubricating cup               Ellijah McCoy           November 15, 1895

lunch pail                   James Robinson         1887

mail box                     Paul L. Downing         October 27, 1891

mop                          Thomas W. Stewart       June 11, 1893

peanut butter                 George Washington Carver   1896

pencil sharpener             J. L. Love             November 23, 1897

phone transmitter             Granville T. Woods     December 2, 1884

record player arm             Joseph Hunger Dickenson January 8, 1819

refrigerator                 J. Standard             June 14, 1891

riding saddles               W. D. Davis             October 6, 1895

rolling pin                   John W. Reed           1864

shampoo headrest             C. O. Bailiff           October 11, 1898

spark plug                   Edmond Berger           February 2, 1839

stethoscope                   Imhotep                Ancient Egypt

stove                         T. A. Carrington       July 25, 1876

straightening comb           Madam C. J. Walker     Approx 1905

street sweeper               Charles B. Brooks       March 17, 1890

thermostat control          Frederick M. Jones     February 23, 1960

traffic light                 Garrett Morgan         November 20, 1923

tricycle                     M. A. Cherry           May 6, 1886

typewriter                   Burridge & Marshman     April 7, 1885

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