East Africa and China’s Connection

None of this comes to a surprise to me. If humans were able to migrate across the planet pre-ancient organized civilization, why would we assume otherwise after organized societies were assembled?

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Africa and China have had contact for more than a thousand years. Some scholars assert that the contacts began as early as 4th century A.D. but convincing evidence is sporadic or lacking. Beginning with the Tang dynasty (618 A.D. to 907 A.D.) documented evidence of contact and trade exists showing a relationship between China and the city-states of east Africa. This relationship has evolved over the centuries and led to a migration of Africans to China to study, trade, and act as diplomats. At least one account indicates that Du Huan was the first Chinese to visit Africa, probably in Nubia, during the 8th century A.D.

– See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/perspectives/africans-and-african-americans-china-long-history-troubled-present-and-promising-future#sthash.bFoNSgZB.dpuf

A joint team of Kenyan and Chinese archaeologists found the 15th Century Chinese coin in Mambrui – a tiny, nondescript village just north of Malindi on Kenya’s north coast.

In barely distinguishable relief, the team leader Professor Qin Dashu from Peking University’s archaeology department, read out the inscription: “Yongle Tongbao” – the name of the reign that minted the coin some time between 1403 and 1424.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-11531398

As tackled in other articles in this edition’s cover story. China is currently Africa’s largest trading partner. But actually, China has been in Africa for a long time.

In fact, in the past 10 years, scientists have been making spectacular field and archival discoveries about China’s early presence on the African continent. These latest findings were the inspiration for an international conference, “Exploring China’s Ancient Links to Africa World Conference”, which was held last October in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

– See more at: http://newafricanmagazine.com/chinas-long-history-africa/#sthash.WU9ybRXb.dpuf

Henry T. Sampson: Gamma Electric Cell

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On July 6, 1971, Sampson was awarded a patent with George H. Miley for the invention of the gamma-electric cell, a direct-conversion energy device that converts the energy generated from the radiation of high-energy gamma rays into electricity.

Other patents include a binder system for rocket propellants and explosives and a case-bonding system for cast-composite rocket propellants, both related to the manufacturing and production of solid-propellant rocket motors.

https://engineering.purdue.edu/Engr/People/Awards/Institutional/DEA/DEA_2013/Sampson

http://www.google.com/patents/US3591860

The Real McCoy: Elijah McCoy

Elijah McCoy.

In 1872 McCoy was issued a patent for his invention, and within a short time his automatic lubricator—dubbed “the real McCoy” to distinguish it from the horde of less effective imitations that soon flooded the market—had been installed on locomotives around the country. “McCoy’s invention was a small thing,” wrote Aaron E. Klein in The Hidden Contributors: Black Scientists and Inventors in America, “but it speeded up the railroads, and faster railroad deliveries spurred the economic growth of a nation.”

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Elijah_McCoy.aspx

Elijah McCoy obtained patents for an automatic sprinkler, an ironing table, and eventually acquired 58 patents in his lifetime.

http://inventors.about.com/od/mstartinventors/ss/Elijah_McCoy.htm

Systemic Racism: The War on Drugs

war on drugs and race

President Nixon

In June 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants. Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer. In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.

President Reagan

The presidency of Ronald Reagan marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war. The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.

Public concern about illicit drug use built throughout the 1980s, largely due to media portrayals of people addicted to the smokeable form of cocaine dubbed “crack.” Soon after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, his wife, Nancy Reagan, began a highly-publicized anti-drug campaign, coining the slogan “Just Say No.” This set the stage for the zero tolerance policies implemented in the mid-to-late 1980s. Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who believed that “casual drug users should be taken out and shot,” founded the DARE drug education program, which was quickly adopted nationwide despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness. The increasingly harsh drug policies also blocked the expansion of syringe access programs and other harm reduction policies to reduce the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.

President Clinton

Although Bill Clinton advocated for treatment instead of incarceration during his 1992 presidential campaign, after his first few months in the White House he reverted to the drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors by continuing to escalate the drug war. Notoriously, Clinton rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences. He also rejected, with the encouragement of drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, health secretary Donna Shalala’s advice to end the federal ban on funding for syringe access programs. Yet, a month before leaving office, Clinton asserted in a Rolling Stone interview that “we really need a re-examination of our entire policy on imprisonment” of people who use drugs, and said that marijuana use “should be decriminalized.”

http://www.drugpolicy.org/new-solutions-drug-policy/brief-history-drug-war

Jan Ernst Matzeliger: Shoe Lasting Machine

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Matzeliger set out to find a solution to the problems he discerned in the shoemaking process. He thought there had to be a way to develop an automatic method for lasting shoes. He began coming up with designs for machines that could do the job. After experimenting with several models, he applied for a patent on a “lasting machine.”

On March 20, 1883, Matzeliger received patent number 274,207 for his machine. The mechanism held a shoe on a last, pulled the leather down around the heel, set and drove in the nails, and then discharged the completed shoe. It had the capacity to produce 700 pairs of shoes a day—more than 10 times the amount typically produced by human hands.

http://www.biography.com/people/jan-matzeliger-21317107#invention-of-the-lasting-machine

http://www.blackpast.org/aah/matzeliger-jan-e-1852-1887

Alexander Miles: Modern Day Elevator

alexander-miles-elevator

The objects of the invention are, first, to provide mechanism operating automatically to close the shaft openings above and below the elevator-cage, and so preclude the possibility of danger by reason of such openings being left unclosed through negligence; and, second, devices operating automatically by the movement of the cage to open and close the cage-doors when set by an operator to be in engagement at any desired floor. The first of these objects is accomplished by means of a flexible belt having its ends attached to the cage and running over drums at the top and bottom of the shaft, and the second by means of levers pivoted to thecage, having one of their ends connected to a door and the other ends carrying rollers which are engaged in curved grooves provided in the corners of the shaft at the several floors, and devices provided in the cage for enabling an operator to throw the rollers into or out of engagement at will. These objects are attained by the mechanisms illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which– Figure 1 is a side elevation of an elevator shaft and cage containing my improvements. Fig. 2 is a front elevation of the same. Fig. 3 is a detached view of one of the cage-doors and its operating devices. Fig. 4 is a detail of the devices for sliding the roller-wheels carried by the levers to and from positions to be engaged in the grooves. Fig. 5 is a cross-section of one of the uprights of the shaft, showing the beltway and a portion of one of the belt cross-strips in it. Fig. 6 is a perspec tive view of an elevator shaft and cage provided with the improvements, but having a single cage-door; and Fig. 7 is a top view of the sliding doors and their tracks.

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http://www.google.com/patents/US371207

https://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=pts&hl=en&q=ininventor:%22Alexander+Miles%22&gws_rd=ssl

Charles Richard Drew: The Blood Bank

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Academy of Medicine in May of 1941, he specifically mentions the pioneering work of Henry Bowditch, a physiologist who was aware of plasma’s potential as early as 1871. The same article also pays tribute to an English physician named Ward, who suggested the use of plasma for battlefield transfusions during World War I.

Still, Drew and several other researchers worked to refine liquid plasma preservation techniques. Having obtained a four-month leave from Howard University in September of 1940, he got off to a brisk start, instituting a system of rigorous processing in a central laboratory so that the sterility of all donated blood could be controlled. Drew later relieved the community hospitals of their constant donor traffic by introducing the idea of a refrigerated mobile blood bank.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/bmjuli.html

http://www.blackpast.org/aah/drew-charles-r-1904-1950

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/theymadeamerica/whomade/drew_hi.html

Frederick McKinley Jones:Refrigerated Inventions

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Frederick McKinley Jones (1893?-1961) was known for his mechanical aptitude and his curious and inventive mind. Largely self educated, Jones invented the first refrigerated transport system. This made it possible to ship food via plane, truck, boat or train anywhere in the world without it perishing.

Ticket Dispensing Machine
Removable Cooling Unit for Compartments.
Automatically Starting and Stopping Gas Engine.
Two-Cycle Gas Engine.
Two-Cycle Gas Engine.
Removable Cooling Unit for Compartments.
Preventing Frosting of Evaporator Heat Exchangers.
Air Conditioning Unit.
Starter Generator.
Means Operated by a Starter Generator for Cooling a Gas Engine.
Thermostatically Operating Gas Engine.
Rotary Compressor.
System for Controlling the Operation of Refrigeration Units.
Apparatus for Heating or Cooling the Atmosphere Within an Enclosure.
Two-Cycle Internal-Combustion Engine.
Prefabricated Refrigerator Construction.
Refrigeration Control Device.
Locking Mechanism.
Method and Means for Air Conditioning.
Method and Means of Defrosting a Cold Diffuser.
Method and Means for Preserving Perishable Foodstuffs in Transit.
Control Device for Internal Combustion Engine.
Thermostat and Temperature Control System.

https://webfiles.uci.edu/mcbrown/display/jones_patents.html

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Frederick_McKinley_Jones.aspx

Percy Lavon Julian: Pioneering Chemist

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Known as the “soybean chemist” for his extraordinary success in synthesizing innovative drugs and industrial chemicals from natural soya products, Percy Lavon Julian was an internationally acclaimed scientist whose discoveries earned him more than 130 chemical patents and a host of professional awards. Among his most important contributions were the creation of a synthetic version of cortisone, a drug used to relieve the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, and physostigmine, prescribed to alleviate the effects of glaucoma—a disease of the eye that can cause blindness if left untreated. Julian’s work with soybeans and soya derivatives also led to the mass production of the male and female hormones testosterone and progesterone and the development of a powerful firefighting chemical called Aero-Foam, used by the U.S. Navy during World War II. The first African American to direct a modern industrial laboratory, he spent 17 years with the Glidden Company in Chicago before leaving to establish his own successful pharmaceutical enterprise, Julian Laboratories, Inc.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Percy_Lavon_Julian.aspx

Percy Julian synthesized physostigmine for treatment of glaucoma; and synthesizedcortisone for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Percy Julian is also noted for inventing a fire-extinguishing foam for gasoline and oil fires.

http://inventors.about.com/od/ijstartinventors/a/PercyJulian.htm

Julian held more than 100 chemical patents, wrote scores of papers on his work, and received dozens of awards and honorary degrees. He founded The Julian Laboratories, Inc., with labs in the U.S. and Mexico (both purchased by Smith Kline French in 1961) and another chemical plant in Guatemala (owned by Upjohn Company since 1961). In 1951, Julian and his family moved to Oak Park, Illinois, becoming the first black family to live there. His house was firebombed twice, but the community largely backed him and today celebrates his birthday as a holiday.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/bmjuli.html

George E. Alcorn: X-Ray Spectrometer

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The question of whether or not life exists on other planets has intrigued people for centuries. Physicist George Edward Alcorn Jr. figured out how to find out. In 1984 Alcorn and his colleagues patented a device to detect extraterrestrial life: the imaging X-ray spectrometer. This device is one of dozens that Alcorn has invented over the years, and the one with the most popular appeal. That’s not to say Alcorn’s other work isn’t interesting. It is. But George Edward Alcorn is an atomic and molecular physicist, and his work is very complex. In addition to Alcorn’s work detecting planetary life, he has also studied missile trajectory and orbits, invented components for semiconductors, designed instruments used in space, and created devices to detect atmospheric contaminants, among other things. For his work Alcorn has won the esteem of his colleagues and his industry’s top awards, including NASA’s Inventor of the Year Award in 1984.

http://www.patentgenius.com/patent/4472728.html

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2694400008.html

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