2014-02-07 / Columnists

An Intern’s Take

Black History Month
By Ilyassha Shivers

So I guess I can officially welcome you to Black History Month. Being born of African descent, an African American, I find it somewhat disheartening when I look at the state of our country. If I had to point to one area that concerns me the most it would be poverty.

The thing about poverty is that it affects so many areas of life; education, nutrition the way that you think and interact with others. Now bear with me a moment. When I speak of poverty I am not just talking about economics. I am talking about our minds, our spirits the way we see life or have allowed it to be defined to us.

Last week I talked about Carter G. Woodson, a man who understood the importance of history. He literally took the word to heart. He made a conscious effort to tell his story.

There are many noteworthy African Americans that I could highlight. I wanted to do some digging try to find a man or woman whose life still impacts us today. I thought about it, did some reading. I have even watched a few DVD’s trying to find someone to share with you.

Have you ever heard of Percy Julian? Percy Julian was a chemist, he is responsible for helping discover physostigmine, a drug derived from the African Calabar bean that was effective against glaucoma. He also did a lot of work with the soybean, turning it into a wide range of products including coating for paper, textiles, food additives, cosmetics and ink. One of the most well-known products he developed was a fire extinguishing foam stored in power form. It was used on navy vessels, and saved hundreds of lives during World War II. Julian’s research helped develop the use of soybeans in helpful drugs like testosterone and cortisone. In a nutshell, he was able to find many uses for the soybean the same way George Washington Carver was able to use the peanut. So if you never heard of Dr. Julian, look him up, you will be surprised.

What do you think? Send me your comments and suggestions to shiverswave@gmail.com. Enjoy Black History Month and don’t forget to read The Wave.

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