Our story starts in 1761 with Ebenezer Kinnersley. In a letter to Benjamin Franklin he described experiments he did for testing if heat was produced by electricity. His power sources were electrostatically charged capacitors made with a case of bottles, or Leyden jars, batteries not having been invented yet. To get sufficient current to detect a change in temperature he needed to release all the stored charge at once through a spark gap. In one experiment (Expt. 11 in the letter) the current was sufficient to make a brass wire turn red.
Today we say that the wire became incandescent, it emitted electromagnetic radiation in the form of visible light as a result of the heat. He also arranged the experiment such that the wire was suspended with a weight at its bottom and found that it elongated by an inch when it got red-hot, the first indication that such heating can be destructive to the wire. He experimented with different diameter wires all of the same material and found that the larger ones showed no noticeable heating effect and concluded that this was due to the lower resistance of the larger ones.
TLDR; Edison did not invent the incandescent lightbulb.
You wouldn’t know it from the films or the television shows, but the Lone Ranger was a Black man by the name of Bass Reeves. Born into slavery in Crawford County, Arkansas in 1838, Bass won his freedom during the Civil War by beating up Colonel George R. Reeves, a member of the slaveholding family.
Bass fled north, living among the Cherokee, Seminole, and Creek Indians until 1865. His knowledge of Native languages made him highly desirable to the U.S. marshals who were expanding west, and in 1875, Reeves became the first Black deputy U.S Marshall west of the Mississippi. Over a period of 32 years, Reeves nabbed 3,000 felons, and is said to have killed 14 outlaws in self-defense. By the time he died at 71 in 1910, Reeves was a legend — though his legacy was whitewashed and stolen.
Reeves is one of countless great Americans whose contributions have been rewritten, revised, or erased to fed the voracious appetite of those who craft self-aggrandizing tales to cover up their darkest sins. Yet, the beauty of history is that the truth will always out, and those who have inherited the great traditions of the past continue to practice and elevate the culture to this very day.
My son took Advanced Placement US History in High School. He learned about the white washing of the history and culture of the American West and he told me what he had learned. Shame.
The real cowboys looks like Django, not Pale Rider.
I was bothered by the title of the article, though. It should have been ROLLING DEEP WITH THE BLACK COWBOYS OF THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA. I feel it plays into the stereotype that cowboys are white.
I was thinking about this very topic the other day. I was born and raised in the West Indies and immigrated to the USA in 1986 for college but become a naturalized US citizen in 1993.
I learned much about my family from the stories my mother, aunts, uncles, and grandparents told me. Many of these people are long gone and I feel disappointed that I did not do this with my kids. In my defense, living in New Jersey, I did not have the support of having family members (or photographs) who could help me pass along family history to my American children. Perhaps it’s not too late.