When African Americans were enslaved, they played a very large and magniﬁcent part in the building of America. They made many contributions to America and invented many products, materials, machinery, instruments and systems that make America work successfully. If it were not for African Americans where would America be today?
What Would America Be Without Us? This is a story about a group of white people who were fed up with African Americans, so they joined together and decided to wish them away. After wishing so hard, they found themselves in a sort of twilight zone, where there was an America without Black people. At ﬁrst these ‘visionaries’ breathed a sigh of relief. “At last”, they said, “No more crime, drugs, violence and welfare. All the Blacks have gone.”
Now, where would America be without us [Blacks]? Of all, there would be very few crops that ﬂourish because the nation was built on a slave-supported system. There would be no cities with tall skyscrapers because Alexander Miles, a Black man, invented the elevator, and without it, one ﬁnds great difﬁculty reaching high ﬂoors. There would be few, if any, cars because Richard Spikes, a Black man, invented the supercharge system for internal combustion engines, and Garrett A. Morgan invented the trafﬁc signal [to avoid confusion at the intersection].
Furthermore, one could not use the rapid transit system because its precursor was the electric trolley, which was invented by another Black man, Elbert R. Robinson. Even if there were streets on which cars and a rapid transit system could operate, they would be cluttered with paper because an African American, Charles Brooks, invented the street sweeper. There would be few, if any, newspapers, magazines, or books because John Love invented the typewriting machine and W.A. Lavalette invented the advanced printing press. They were all Black.
Even if Americans could write their letters, articles and books, they could not have been transported as quickly by mail before William Barry invented the postmarking and canceling machine, and William Purvis invented the handstamp and Philip Downing invented the letter drop. Their lawns would have been brown and wilted before Joseph Smith invented the lawn sprinkler and John Burr the lawn mower. And too, when they entered their homes, they would have found them to be poorly ventilated and heated before Frederick Jones invented the air conditioner and Alice Parker the heating furnace. Their homes would also be ﬁlthy before Thomas W. Stewart invented the mop and Lloyd P. Ray the dust pan. Their children would meet them at the door barefoot, shabby, dirty and unkempt, because what could one expect before Jan E. Matzeliger invented the shoe lasting machine or George Washington Carver invented soap and toothpaste or Walter Sammons invented the comb, or Lydia O. Newman’s invention of the hair brush, or Sarah Boone invention of the ironing board and George T. Sampson invention of the clothes dryer?
Finally, they would have to be resigned to at least have dinner amidst all of this turmoil. But here again, the food would have been spoiled before another black man, John Standard, invented the refrigerator. And they would have to eat their spoiled meat in the dark before the ﬁ lament within the light bulb was invented by Lewis Latimer. What would this world be like without us? Just remember, these are only a few of the achievements brought to the world by African Americans. This doesn’t even begin to highlight the contributions of African Americans to mankind in the ﬁelds of science, agriculture, mathematics, medicine, astronomy and others.
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