Black History Month Perspective by Chaplain Bill Smith

Black History month symbolizes a time in the calendar of events in America that we as a nation recognize the contributions of African Americans. I think most would agree that the current cultural climate in America is being challenged and redefined. Whether one finds his own view in favor or in opposition to the current political course, it is important that we all find a way to value the diversity and contributions made to our great country. Black History Month provides us the opportunity to look into the hour glass of African American culture and see some of the great contributions that African Americans made to the building of this great nation. I have listed a few contributions below:

1. Charles Drew – Pioneeer of the Modern Blood Bank
2. Daniel Hale Williams – Pioneer of Open Heart Surgery
3. Fred Jones – Developed Refrigeration Systems for Trucks
4. Garrett Morgan – Inventor of the Traffic Signal and Gas Mask
5. George Washington Carver – Invented Thousands of Uses for Peanut Oil and Other Inventions
6. Lewis Latimer – Invented the Carbon-Filiment Light Bulb
7. Percy Julian – Pioneer in the Field of Synthetic Chemistry
8. Sarah Goode – First black woman to receive a patent for the Folding Cabinet Bed
9. George Crum – Inventor of the Potato Chip
10. James Edward West – Invented the Foil Electric Microphone used in 90% of all microphones, cell phones, hearing aids and more.

These very limited examples provide a microscopic view into the wealth of contributions in the building and development of this country. Its ongoing success is built on the spirit of entrepreneurship, invention and innovation that all cultures have provided through a passionate and persistent desire to advance. It is my own humble opinion that no society can thrive wighout the recognition that all who abide have worthy offering and contribution to its success. As an Africian American, I am grateful that Signature Healthcare thought it would be a valuable directive to recognize this month along with our nation. I would also like to offer my personal thanks to other cultures and people groups who have given significantly to our nation who may not or have not been recognized now or in the past.

May God’s Blessing be upon the United States of America

Bill Smith, M.Div.
Chaplain|Director of Spirituality