Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Day of Absence

A Day of Absence 
Author unknown

This is the story of a little boy named Theo, who woke up one morning, and said to his mother, "Mom, what if there were no Black people in the world?"

Well, his mother thought about that for a moment and said, "Son, follow me around today and let's just see what it would be like if there were no Black people in the world. Now go get dressed and we will get started."

Theo ran to his room to put on his clothes and shoes. His mother took one look at him and said, "Theo, where are your shoes? And those clothes are all wrinkled, son. I must iron them." She reached for the ironing board. It was no longer there.

Sarah Boone, a Black woman, invented the ironing board. Jan E. Metziger, a Black man, invented the shoe lacing machine.

"Oh, well," she said, "Please go do something to your hair." Theo ran to his room to comb his hair, but the comb was not there. Walter H. Sammons, a Black man, invented the comb. Theo decided to just brush his hair, but the brush was gone. Lydia O'Newman, a Black man, invented the brush.

Well, this was a sight. No shoe laces, wrinkled clothes, hair a mess. Even his mom's hair was mess without the hair care invention of Madam C. J. Walker. You get the picture.

Theo's mom told him, "Let's do our chores around the house, and then take a trip to the grocery store. Theo's job was to sweep the floor. He swept and swept and swept. When he reached for the dust pan, it was not there. Lloyd P. Ray, a Black man, invented the dust pan. So he swept the pile of dirt in a corner and left it. He then decided to mop the floor, but the mop was gone. Thomas W. Stewart, a Black man, invented the mop.

Theo yelled to his mom, "Mom, I'm not having any luck!"

"Well, son," she said, "let me finish washing these clothes, and we will prepare a list for the grocery store."

When the wash was finished, she went to place her clothes in the dryer, but the dryer was not there. George T. Sampson, a Black man, invented the clothes dryer.

Theo's mom asked him to get a pencil and paper to prepare their list for the market. Theo ran to get the pen and paper, but he noticed the pencil lead was broken. He was out of luck. John Love, a Black man, invented the pencil sharpener.

His mom reached for a pen, but it was not there. John Purvis, a Black man, invented the fountain pen. As a matter of fact, Lee S. Burridge invented the typewriting machine, and W. A. Lovett, invented the advanced printing press.

Theo and his mother decided to head to the market. When Theo opened the door, he noticed the grass was as high as he was tall. The lawn mower was invented by John Burr, a Black man.

They found their way to the car. It just wouldn't start. Richard Spikes, a Black man, invented the super charge system for internal combustion engines. They noticed that  few cars moving were running into each other, having wrecks. There were no traffic signals. Garrett A. Morgan invented the traffic light.

It was getting late so they walked to the market, got their groceries and returned home. Just as they were about to put away the milk, eggs and butter, they noticed the refrigerator was gone. John Standard, a Black man, invented the refrigerator. They left the food on the counter. By this time Theo noticed it was getting cold. His mom went to turn up the heat, and what do you know. . . Alice Parker, a Black woman, invented the heating furnace. In the summer time they would have suffered through the heat if Frederick Jones, a Black man, had not invented the air conditioner.

It was almost time for Theo's father to arrive home. He usually takes the bus but there was no bus. Its precursor to the electric trolley, was invented by another Black man, Elbert R. Robinson. Theo's father usually takes the elevator from his office on the 20th floor, but there was no elevator. Alex Miles, a Black man, invented the elevator.

Theo's father dropped off the office mail at a nearby mail box, but it was no longer there. Phillip Downing, a Black man, invented the letter drop mail box, and William Berry, a Black man, invented the post marking and canceling machine.

Theo and his mother sat at the kitchen table with their head in their hands. When his father arrived, he asked, "Why are you still sitting in the dark?" Louis Howard Latimer, a Black man, invented the light bulb.

Theo quickly learned what it would be like if there were no Black people in the world, especially if he were ever sick, and needed blood. Charles Drew, a Black scientist, found a way to preserve and store blood, which led to starting the world's first blood bank.

What if a family member had to have heart surgery? This would not have been possible without Dr. Daniel L. Williams, a Black doctor, who performed the first open heart surgery. So if you ever wonder, like Theo, where the world would be without Black folk, well . . . it's pretty plain to see. We would still be in the dark.

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