2014-02-14 / Columnists

An Intern’s Take

A Sole Brother
By Ilyassha Shivers

If you don't know history, you are bound to repeat the same. I am not sure who made this comment and in what context it was made. All I know is that it’s used far too often. History is funny in the sense that it’s usually told and documented by whoever has control. I guess that's why it's called his – “story.”

They say when a story is told there are at least two or three sides; my version, your version, and the truth which usually lies somewhere in the middle. If this is true about 50 percent of what we have been taught is a lie. So if this is the case, what does that say about Black History Month?

This week I came across a few notable African Americans but I had to settle on one, Jan Matzeliger, who was known as a “sole” brother. He was a genius from the working class. In 1883 he patented the first appliance capable of holding a shoe on a human model of a foot called a last. It pulled the leather tight around the heel. His invention cut production costs in the industry by one-half. To this day, in the trade, it is called the “Nigger Head” machine by some. Sadly, Jan Matzeliger was exploited by shrewd and overpowering businessmen. He died penniless at the age of 36. (See Black History Lost Stolen or Strayed by Otto Lindenmeyer)

Tell me what you think. Is there someone you would like me to write about? Send your comments and ideas to shiverswave@gmail.com... Don't forget to read The Wave!

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