Commentary: Black Scientists, Explorers, and Inventors
By dopper0189, Black Kos Managing Editor
Fred McKinley Jones (1893-1961) was one of the most important Black inventors ever based on the sheer number and diversity of inventions he created.
Fred Jones was born on May 17, 1893 in Covington, Kentucky. His father was a white railroad worker of Irish descent and his mother was Black. It is believed that his mother died while he was young and Fred was raised by his father. When Fred was eight years old, his father took him to Cincinnati, Ohio to where they visited St. Mary's Catholic Church rectory. Fred's father urged Father Edward A. Ryan to take Fred in in order to expose him to an environment where he might have a better opportunity for gaining an education. Fred performed chores around the church in return for being fed and housed, cutting the grass, shoveling snow, scrubbing floors and learning to cook. At an early age, Fred demonstrated a great interest in mechanical working, whether taking apart a toy, a watch or a kitchen appliance. Eventually he became interested in automobiles, so much so that upon turning 12 years of age, he ran away from his home at the rectory and began working at the R.C. Crothers Garage.
Initially hired to sweep and clean the garage, Fred spent much of his time observing the mechanics as they worked on cars. His observation, along with a voracious appetite for learning through reading developed within Fred an incredible base of knowledge about automobiles and their inner workings. Within three years, Fred had become the foreman of the garage. The garage was primarily designed to repair automobiles brought in by customers but also served as a studio for building racing cars. After a few years of building these cars, Fred desired to drive them and soon became one of the most well known racers in the Great Lakes region. After brief stints working aboard a steamship and a hotel, Jones moved to Hallock, Minnesota began designing and building racecars which he drove them at local tracks and at county fairs. His favorite car was known as Number 15 and it was so well designed it not only defeated other automobile but once triumphed in a race against an airplane.
On August 1, 1918 Jones enlisted in the 809 Pioneer Infantry of the United States Army and served in France during World War I. While serving, Jones recruited German prisoners of war and rewired his camp for electricity, telephone and telegraph service. After being discharged by the Army, Fred returned to Hallock in 1919. Looking for work, Jones often aided local doctors by driving them around for housecalls during the winter season. When navigation through the snow proved difficult, Fred attached skis to the undercarriage of an old airplane body and attached an airplane propeller to a motor and soon whisked around town a high speeds in his new snowmachine. Over the next few years Fred began tinkering with almost everything he could find, inventing things he could not find and improving upon those he could. When one of the doctors he worked for on occasion complained that he wished he did not have to wait for patient to come into his office for x-ray exams, Jones created a portable x-ray machine that could be taken to the patient. Unfortunately, like many of his early inventions, Jones never thought to apply for a patent for machine and watched helplessly as other men made fortunes off of their versions of the device. Undaunted, Jones set out for other projects, including a radio transmitter, personal radio sets and eventually motion picture devices.....Read More Here -->
News round up by dopper0189, Black Kos Managing Editor
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock has defeated Republican Herschel Walker in his bid for re-election, NBC News has projected. The victory earns a six-year term for Warnock, grants Democrats a 51-49 edge in the Senate, and brings an end to Walker’s tortured run for office.
Ahead of Tuesday's runoff, Warnock's campaign relied on an extensive get-out-the-vote effort involving activist groups and more than 900 staffers — hundreds more than they had on staff ahead of the general election in November.
Warnock, Georgia's first Black senator, largely let Walker’s often incoherent words speak for themselves, a strategy that in the end benefited him greatly. Walker's rambling speeches became prime campaign material for Warnock and his surrogates.
Walker, a former NFL running back-turned-right-wing cheerleader, struggled to express intelligible political thoughts. Knowing he was bound to have problems, early on, his campaign plotted ways for him to smile, shake hands and wave at public events while providing minimal quotes. But controversies swirled around his campaign whether he was in or out of the public eye.
The city of Earle, located in Arkansas, elected Jaylen Smith as mayor in Tuesday night’s runoff. This makes him the youngest Black mayor in the country at just 18 years old. According to election results, Smith managed to receive 218 votes while his opponent, Nemi Matthews Sr., obtained 139 votes.
Smith quickly went to Facebook to celebrate his victory:
“Citizens of Earle, Arkansas, it’s official!! I am your newly elected Mayor of Earle, Arkansas… ‘It’s Time to Build a Better Chapter of Earle, Arkansas.’ I would like to thank all my supporters for stepping up getting people to the polls. I am truly grateful for you all.”
Smith, who just graduated from high school, told Cincinnati’s WKRC about his plans to make transportation and public safety better. Earle has a population of about 2,000 people. He also wants to tear down houses that have been abandoned and build a grocery store.
The newspaper carrier involved in a January 2021 confrontation with Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer testified Tuesday in the sheriff’s criminal trial on false-reporting charges, facing an aggressive cross-examination by Troyer’s lead defense attorney.
Sedrick Altheimer, 26, who was delivering newspapers on his regular route that night, recounted how he was followed by Troyer, who was driving his unmarked white SUV, leading to a 2 a.m. standoff in a quiet north Tacoma intersection.
Troyer called an emergency dispatcher, repeatedly claiming Altheimer was threatening to kill him, leading to a massive initial police response. According to Tacoma police, he walked back his threat claims upon questioning by a Tacoma police officer.
“I get held at gunpoint. I get questioned and pulled out of my vehicle. Frisked. Asked questions. Treated like a suspect,” Altheimer said as he took the stand Tuesday in Pierce County District Court in Tacoma, questioned by Assistant Attorney General Melanie Tratnik.
Troyer’s about-face regarding alleged threats by Altheimer, as outlined in a Tacoma police incident report, led the state Attorney General’s Office to charge the elected sheriff in October 2021 with misdemeanor crimes of false reporting and making a false or misleading statement to a public servant.
Troyer has called the prosecution a political witch hunt. He pleaded not guilty, and his defense attorneys have sought throughout the trial, which began last week, to raise doubts about the credibility of Altheimer and the Tacoma police account of that night.
Russia has freed WNBA star Brittney Griner in a prisoner exchange. American officials confirmed to ESPN's T.J. Quinn on Thursday that the U.S. is releasing notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
President Joe Biden tweeted Thursday morning: "I spoke to Brittney Griner. She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home."
Griner, who had been detained in Russia for 293 days, was serving a nine-year sentence and had recently been relocated to a penal colony in Mordovia, about 210 miles east of Moscow.
Griner, a Phoenix Mercury star and NCAA, WNBA and Olympic champion, had been detained in Russia since being arrested in February on charges that she brought vape cartridges carrying a small amount of cannabis oil into the country. Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison in August, and her appeal was denied Oct. 25.
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