BLACK HISTORY: Edward A. Bouchet – March 6, 2016

Black History: Edward A. Bouchet, First African American Ph.D.
Edward Alexander Bouchet (1852-1918) graduated as valedictorian of the Hopkins Grammar School class of 1870.

He was the first African American to graduate from Yale in 1874. (He earned his bachelor’s degree with highest honors.)  He was also the first African American to be elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Yale and the first African American to earn a doctorate from an American university when he earned a Ph.D. in physics in 1876.  His doctoral dissertation was titled, “Measuring Refractive Indices.”

Bouchet was also among 20 Americans (of any race) to receive a Ph.D. in physics and was the sixth to earn a Ph.D. in physics from Yale.

After graduation, Dr. Bouchet’s demonstrated brilliance and credentials did not afford him the opportunities (such as positions in research, or at top universities) typically available to people of his unusually high level of education—undoubtedly due to racism.  He spent the rest of his life as a well-respected teacher.

He taught chemistry and physics for many years at the Institute for Colored Youth, a Quaker institution in Philadelphia.  Later on, Dr. Bouchet taught at St. Paul’s Normal and Industrial School in Virginia, served as principal of Lincoln High School in Galipolis, Ohio, and was a professor at Bishop College in Marshall, Texas.  He also held the position of business manager for a hospital in St. Louis and worked for a short time as a U.S. Customs Service inspector.   He retired from college teaching in 1916 and lived in New Haven for the last two years of his life.

He never married and had no children.

A former student of Dr. Bouchet’s described him this way:  “…He was a fine Christian gentleman, a consummate scholar, one who seemed very knowledgeable in all areas and yet was extremely modest and a person who set a wonderful example of politeness and graciousness for the community. …Certainly it is impossible to assess the far-reaching influence of Dr. Bouchet upon the hundreds of persons whose lives he touched.”

Each year, the American Physical Society bestows the Edward A. Bouchet Award  upon an African American, Hispanic American or Native American physicist who has made remarkable contributions to physics.  The Edward Bouchet Abdus Salam Institute was founded in 1988 by the late Nobel Laureate, Professor Abdus Salam under the direction of the founding Chairman Charles S. Brown.  In 2005, Yale and Howard Universities founded the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.

The 2016 Edward A. Bouchet Award recipient was Pablo Laguna, Georgia Institute of Technology.

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MOVING THROUGH DARKNESS – February 28, 2016

Moving Through Darkness. . .The Places We Go

~ Author unknown
Often it takes something major to wake us up, to shake us loose from our ego’s grip as it struggles to maintain an illusion of control.

In life, most of us want things to go to the places we have envisioned ourselves going. We have plans and visions, some of them divinely inspired, that we want to see through to completion. We want to be happy, successful, and healthy, all of which are perfectly natural and perfectly human. So, when life takes us to places we didn’t consciously want to go, we often feel as if something has gone wrong, or we must have made a mistake somewhere along the line, or any number of other disheartening possibilities. This is just life’s way of taking us to a place we need to go for reasons that go deeper than our own ability to reason. These hard knocks and trials are designed to shed light on our unconscious workings and deepen our experience of reality.

Often it takes something major to wake us up, to shake us loose from our ego’s grip as it struggles to maintain an illusion of control. It is loss of control more than anything else that humbles us and enables us to see the big picture. It reminds us that the key to the universe lies in what we do not know, and what we do know is a small fraction of the great mystery in which we live. This awareness softens and lightens us, as we release our resistance to what is.

Another gift gleaned from going to these seemingly undesirable places is that, in our response to difficulty, we can see all the patterns and unresolved emotional baggage that stand in the way of our unconditional joyfulness. Joy exists within us independently of whether things go our way or not. And when we don’t feel it, we can trust that we will find it if we are willing to surrender to the situation, moving through it as we move through our difficult feelings.

We can take our inspiration from any fairy tale that finds its central character lost in a dark wood, frightened and alone. We know that the journey through the wood provides its own kind of beauty and richness.

On the other side, we will emerge transformed, lighter and brighter, braver and more confident, for having moved through that darkness.

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THE SEED – February 21, 2016

“Over the years, I have read many good pieces that I considered to be profound.  They teach excellent lessons about life.  I saved some of them in a special folder.  Here’s one of them.  I don’t know who the author is, but I hope you enjoy it.” ~ Joyce Fields

The Seed 

~ Author unknown

A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.

Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different.  He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO.  I have decided to choose one of you.”

The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued, “I am going to give each one of you a seed today—one very special seed.  I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you.  I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one who nurtured the winning plant will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed.  He went home and, excitedly, told his wife the story.

She helped him get a pot, soil, and compost, and he planted the seed.  Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.  After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by—still nothing.  By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by—still nothing in Jim’s pot.  He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.  Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however.  He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil.  He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.  Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened.

Jim felt sick at his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.  He took his empty pot to the board room.  When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives.

They were beautiful—in all shapes and sizes.  Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed.  A few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.  Jim just tried to hide in the back.

“My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO.

“Today, one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot.  He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front.

Jim was terrified.  He thought:  “The CEO knows I’m a failure!  Maybe he will have me fired!

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed.  Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim.  He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive!  His name is Jim!”

Jim couldn’t believe it.  Jim couldn’t even grow his seed.  How could he be the new CEO, the others said.

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed.  I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today.”

“But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead—it was not possible for them to grow.  All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers.

“When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you.  Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it.  Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive!”

If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment.
If you plant unselfishness, you will reap admiration.
If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
If you plant faith in God, you will reap a harvest.

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

Sow good things daily into the life of your family!

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THE COMPANY YOU KEEP – February 14, 2016

The Company You Keep

~ Author unknown

 

It Is Better To Be Alone, Than In The Wrong Company.

Tell me who your best friends are, and I will tell you who you are.

If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl.
But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.

A mirror reflects a man’s/woman’s face, but what he/she is really like is shown by the kind of friends he/she chooses.

The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate—for the good or the bad.

The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve.

Anytime you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity.

An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative-acting people.

As you grow, your associates will change.

Some of your friends will not want you to go on.  They will want you to stay where they are.

Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl.

Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream.

Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.

Consider This:
Never receive counsel from unproductive people.

Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how.

Not everyone has a right to speak into your life.

You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person.

Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.

With some people you spend an evening; with others you invest it.

Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life.

Wise is the person who fortifies his/her life with the right friendships.

Happy moments, Praise God
Difficult moments, Seek God
Quiet moments, Worship God
Painful moments, Trust God
Every moment, Thank God

If you see people without a smile today, give them one of yours.

Choose to rise…Don’t settle…and go for your dreams!

And most of all, let God lead you in everything you do!!

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A WORLD WITHOUT THE INVENTIONS OF BLACK PEOPLE – February 7, 2016

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

A World Without the Inventions of Black People

~ Author Unknown

This is a story of a little boy who woke up one morning and asked his mother, “Ma, did black people invent anything for the world?”  Well, his mother thought about that for a moment, and then said, “Billy, follow me around today and let’s just see what it would be like if there were no inventions by black people.  Now go get dressed, and we will get started.”

Billy ran to his room to put on his clothes and shoes.  His mother took one look at him and said, “Where are your shoes? And those clothes are all wrinkled, son.  I must iron them.”  However, when she reached for the ironing board, it was no longer there.

You see Sarah Boone, a black woman, invented the ironing board, and Jan E. Matzelinger, a black man, invented the shoe lasting machine.

“Oh, well,” she said, “please go and do something to your hair.”  He ran in his room to comb his hair, but the comb was not there.  You see, Walter Sammons, a black man, invented the comb.

Billy decided to just brush his hair, but the brush was gone, too.  You see Lydia O. Newman, a black female, invented the brush.

Well, this was a sight:  no shoes, wrinkled clothes, hair a mess.  Even Mom’s hair, without the hair care inventions of Madam C. J. Walker. . .well, you get the picture.

Mom told Billy, “Let’s do our chores around the house and then take a trip to the grocery store.”  Billy’s job was to sweep the floor.  He swept and swept and swept.  When he reached for the dustpan, it was not there.  You see, Lloyd P. Ray, a black man, invented the dustpan.

So he swept his pile of dirt over to the corner and left it there.  He then decided to mop the floor, but the mop was gone.  You see, Thomas W. Stewart, a black man, invented the mop.  Billy yelled to his Mom, “Ma, 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 finished, she went to place the clothes in the dryer, but it was not there.  You see, George T. Samon, a black man, invented the clothes dryer.

Mom asked Billy to go get a pencil and some paper to prepare their list for the market.  So, Billy ran for the paper and pencil but noticed the pencil lead was broken.  Well, he was out of luck because John Love, a black man, invented the pencil sharpener.

Mom reached for a pen, but it was not there because William Purvis, a black man, invented the fountain pen.

As a matter of fact, Lee Burridge, a black man, invented the typewriting machine and W. A. Lovette, a black man, invented the advanced printing press.  Billy and his mother decided just to head out to the market.

Well, when Billy opened the door, he noticed the grass was as high as he was tall. You see, John Burr, a black man, invented the lawn mower.

They made their way over to the car and found that it just wouldn’t go.  You see, Richard Spikes, a black man, invented the automatic gearshift, and Joseph Gammel, a black man, invented the supercharge system for internal combustion engines.  They also noticed that the few cars that were moving were running into each other and having wrecks because there were no traffic signals.  You see, Garrett A. Morgan, a black man, invented the traffic light.

Well, it was getting late, so they walked to the market, got their groceries, and returned home.  Just when they were about to put away the milk, eggs, and butter, they noticed the refrigerator was gone.  You see John Standard, a black man, invented the refrigerator.  So, they just left the food on the counter.

By this time, Billy noticed he was getting mighty cold.  Mom went to turn up the heat, and what do you know?  No heat!  Alice Parker, a black female, invented the central heating furnace.  And in the summertime, they would have been out of luck trying to cool the house because Frederick Jones, a black man, invented the air conditioner.

It was almost time for Billy’s father to arrive home.  He usually takes the bus, but there was no bus, because its precursor was the electric trolley, invented by another black man, Elbert R. Robinson.

He usually takes the elevator from his office on the 20th floor, but there was no elevator because Alexander Miles, a black man, invented the elevator.

He also usually dropped off the office mail at a nearby mailbox, but it was no longer there because Philip Downing, a black man, invented the letter drop mailbox, and William Barry invented the postmarking and canceling machine.

Billy and his mother sat at the kitchen table with their heads in their hands. When the father arrived, he asked, “Why are you sitting in the dark?”  Why?  Because Lewis Howard Latimer, a black man, invented the filament within the light bulb.

Billy quickly learned more about what it would be like if there were no inventions by black people in the world, especially if he were ever sick and needed blood.  Dr. Charles Drew, a black scientist, found a way to preserve and store blood, which led to his starting the world’s first blood bank.

Well, what if a family member had to have heart surgery?  This would not have been possible without Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, a black doctor, who performed the firstsuccessful open-heart surgery.

So, if you ever wonder, like Billy, “where would we be without the inventions of black people?” think about these inventors and their inventions—and these are just a few!

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MY CUP HAS OVERFLOWED – January 31, 2016

My Cup Has Overflowed

~ Author unknown

I’ve never made a fortune,
and it’s probably too late now.
But I don’t worry about that much,
I’m happy anyhow.

And as I go along life’s way,
I’m reaping better than I sowed.
I’m drinking from my saucer,
’cause my cup has overflowed.

Haven’t got a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going’s tough.
But I’ve got loving ones all around me,
and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for His blessings,
and the mercies He’s bestowed.
I’m drinking from my saucer,
’cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong.
My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke,
and the sun peeped through again.

So God, help me not to gripe
about the tough rows I have hoed.
I’m drinking from my saucer,
’cause my cup has overflowed.

If God gives me strength and courage,
when the way grows steep and rough,
I’ll not ask for other blessings,
I’m already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy
to help others bear their loads.
I’ll keep drinking from my saucer,
’cause my cup has overflowed.

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TODAY: WHAT WILL YOU CHOOSE? – January 24, 2016

Today:  What Will You Choose?

~ Author unknown

 

I woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the clock strikes midnight.  I have responsibilities to fulfill today.  I am important.

My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have.

Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.

Today I can feel sad that I don’t have more money or I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste.

Today I can grumble about my health or I can rejoice that I am alive.

Today I can lament over all that my parents didn’t give me when I was growing up or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

Today I can cry because roses have thorns or I can celebrate that thorns have roses.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.

Today I can wail because I have to go to work or I can shout for joy because I have a job to do.

Today I can complain because I have to go to school or eagerly open my mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.

Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or I can feel honored that God has entrusted treasures into my care.

Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped.  And here I am the sculptor who gets to do the shaping.

What today will be like is up to me.  I get to choose what kind of today I will have!

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BOOK BOSSES, FOR REAL!

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