Black History Fun Fact Friday – Dr. Joseph N. Jackson

If you follow me on Instagram, then you are already familiar with this name. You may not, however, be familiar with his legacy. Dr. Jackson is many things: an inventor, businessman, scientist, and humanitarian. He’s the Co-founder of the Black Inventions Museum, Inc. and still invents today. But before we get into Joseph’s life, we must establish some additional facts.

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Lazy Bones Wire Remote

Jackson didn’t invent the remote itself. He improved on earlier inventions, making the TV remote what we know it to be today. Nikola Tesla created one of the world’s first wireless remote controls, which he unveiled at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1898. However, Tesla‘s boat remote was a flop. Another remote version was developed called “Lazy Bones,” and was connected to the television by a wire. The wireless remote control, called the “Flashmatic,”  was developed in 1955 by Eugene Polley.


Joseph was born in Harvey Jefferson Parish, Louisiana the fourth of eight children. At 17 he worked as an oil field tool maintenance help and police. He also went to school while he worked learning how to repair televisions and later owned his own repair shop for seven years.

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In 1961, Joseph received his GED and went to television repair school at night. He also owned and operated a radio and television service shop part-time in Fayetteville, North Carolina, near Fort Bragg where he was stationed.

I found it fun to discover that he was stationed in Fayetteville near Fort Bragg because it was the same place my husband was stationed when he was in the military as an engineer and equipment operator. Also, like hubby, Joseph was honorably discharged from the Army. Great men think alike 😉

After being honorably discharged in February 1968, Joseph re-enlisted in June 1970, working as an engineer equipment technician in Korea. Joseph graduated from the Army Recruiting and Career Counselor School in 1971 and transferred to California in 1973. He was an Army Recruiter and Career Counselor until his retirement in July 1978.

Before his retirement, Joseph also completed his degree in Business Administration at Columbia College and holds a Doctorate in Applied Science and Technology from Glendale University.

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As an inventor, Joseph invented what led to the precursor of the V-Chip, the technology that is used in the television industry to block out violent programs and the creation of the TV Remote Control. Joseph still invents today and has founded Protelcon, Inc., in 1993 to market and distribute, the TeleCommander, the first empowerment television accessory designed to give parents control over the viewing content of children.

Dr. Jackson has had numerous appearances on local television, and several articles published in the “Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, The Los Angeles Sentinel, The Wave” and other local newspapers. He also appeared in “Jet Magazine,” on January 19, 1978. He is a member of The Black Business Association of Los Angeles, The Hawthorne Chamber of Commerce, and served on the Advisory Board at Cal State University of Long Beach School of Engineering.

Dr. Jackson now serves as Patent Consultant to many potential inventors throughout the country.


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Black History Fun Fact Friday – UNDERGROUND TV Show

Since the TV show I want to feature today as part of our “Movie” Night Friday was Underground anyway, I decided to combine it with Black History Fun Fact Friday since it is on the same lines.

Today, we are discussing Underground, one of the most powerful TV shows on right now. (One of the deepest movies is GET OUT. You must check into it if you have not gone to see it).

First, let’s catch you up:

Wikipedia: About Underground

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Photo Credit: WGN America – Underground

“Driven by the dreams of a courageous blacksmith named Noah, some plantation slaves in 1850s Georgia band together to attempt a daring escape. The fight for their lives, their futures and their freedom leads to Noah’s risk-filled plan to travel hundreds of miles away via the Underground Railroad. The landmark 10-episode anthology is created by Misha Green (“Sons of Anarchy”) and Joe Pokaski (“Daredevil”) and co-executive produced by John Legend, who also oversees the series’ score, soundtrack and musical elements.”

Trailer of Season One:

We are now in Season Two and it is already off to a blood racing start. One of the reasons I love this show is because it is well-written, something that does not happen often on television. What I mean by well-written is that the history is accurate. While there are plenty of sad parts (as slavery was not pretty) it is well balanced with factual information. The creators (and actors) of this show didn’t just throw something together. They did their research.

Who Ran the Railroad – The Underground Railroad is often portrayed as being ran mostly by white abolitionists with lots of people. While white abolitionists and Quakers surely helped, a lot of the people running the show were free blacks from the North too and I love how the program shows this (though subtly) by having Rosalee and the others front and center of the operation and not in the background just being “carried” by the helping whites. “…very few people, relatively speaking, engaged in its activities. After all, it was illegal to assist slaves escaping to their freedom. Violating the 1850 Act could lead to charges of “constructive treason.” Being an abolitionist or a conductor on the Underground Railroad, the historian Donald Yacovone related in an email to me, “was about as popular and as dangerous as being a member of the Communist Party in 1955.”

– Henry Louis Gates Jr.

The most noted black man who helped to run The Underground Railroad is William Still who operated with the assistance of white abolitionists. William Still, a free-born Black, became an abolitionist movement leader and writer and was also one of the most successful Black businessmen in the history of the City of Philadelphia. Next week, I’ll do a Black History Fun Fact on him with more details.

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Humanizing Harriet Tubman – Another thing I see is that the writers and directors of Underground humanizes Harriet Tubman. As much as we complain about too many “slave stories” we really don’t know as much about slavery as we think we do, first because we weren’t there and second because we don’t study history. All we really know about Harriet are the quotes we read but in this show she is brought to life and has feelings. She is brave but also fearful. She is fierce but also concerned. She’s a warrior but still a woman; a gentle mother-like figure to Rosalee (The Black Rose) as she takes her under her wing. One of the ways to which Harriet is humanized in addition to these emotions is the calling of her by her nickname: Moses.

Female Moses – Also, called “General Tubman” people began to call Harriet Tubman Moses because of her leading her people out of slavery like Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt. The powerful thing about this to me is that we are the same people. There is countless evidence of the physical appearance of the ancient Israelites but not just the physical appearance but also the culture of the people. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 c.e. by the Roman Emperor Titus and his general Vespasian, we fled into East Africa (Ethiopia, Egypt, the Sudan, etc.) and from there migrated to other parts of the African continent, widely settling on the West Coast to the extent that some tribal African nations still observe Hebrew customs and traditions. Tribes such as the Yoruba, Congo, and Ashanti can still be found keeping laws that can also be found in the Old Testament.

Upon The Transatlantic Slave Trade and our enslavement in the U.S. and pretty much everywhere else (we did not just come into America but were spread across the four corners) we sang many songs (spirituals) that told the history of who we were as a people before slavery. These songs, like “Go down Moses” and “Wade in the Water” (for which a lyric is, “Who’s that dressed in white, must be the Israelites”) was not just the symbolism of a spiritual people but the history of a people who lived the lyrics. Thus, Harriet’s nickname is powerful not just because her leadership in freeing her people from America is symbolic of Moses freeing us from Egypt, but also because she is his ancestor. In the words of Malcolm X, “You are the people of the book. You are the lost sheep.”

Harriet Tubman’s Spells – Speaking of Moses, I was excited to see that they put this in the show because it is a fact we don’t hear often. Harriet Tubman suffered from severe headaches, and seizures. She also had a form of narcolepsy where she would fall asleep without notice. Her condition caused her to have visions believed to have helped her in her missions. They showed this in Wednesday’s episode when she fell asleep at the table.

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Aldis Hodge as “Noah”

Full Beards – I love the full beards and the masculine image of the black man. It was a subtle thing but present. I imagine Moses, David, or Gideon wore beards like that. Nonetheless, this is how men grew their beards back then, very thick and covering the whole lower face. Sometimes you couldn’t even see their mouths.

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Photo Credit: WGN America: Underground

Slave Examinations / NFL Combine Evaluations – Speaking of black men, they showed you how enslaved blacks were inspected when they were looking at Noah’s teeth and body when he was in jail. (Speaking of jail, such physical examinations also happen there.) Enslaved blacks were naked and examined before they were bought to show potential buyers that they were of good stock and to determine how useful that person would be based on age, size and health. With the NFL combine, evaluators try to project the player’s longevity. Players strip down to bare minimums to have their bodies pricked and prodded for size and strength in an eerily similar way as their ancestors were pricked and prodded by slave buyers. The more they can get out of a player, the better. Enslaved Blacks worth was similarly judged by what the plantation owners believed they could get out of the enslaved long term.

Moss on the Tree – Another subtly, it is a testament to the story’s attention to historic detail. As Noah is trying to escape his captors, he notices the moss on the tree. This told him which direction he was going because there’s a tendency for moss to grow on the north side of the tree in the Northern Hemisphere.

Sweet-grass Baskets – The baskets the women carried on their heads are sweet-grass baskets, one of the oldest handcrafts of African origin used to separate the rice seed from its chaff. Speaking of women, we didn’t even talk about how fearless they were. I loved the part when Elizabeth thought they were going to pull out sewing items but they pulled out guns but I will stop here.

I hope I’ve sparked enough curiosity for you to go ahead and watch the show! Or at the very least get some young people you know to watch it as a History lesson. It airs every Wednesday @ 9:00a CST on WGN. (No one paid me to say this. Maybe I should ask for a check).

Underground Season Two Trailer

Movie Night Friday is Back

One day, a couple weeks ago after posting the Underground Trailer, some ladies and me were talking and joking in the comments about movies. I mentioned that I should do movie reviews. But, I realized I was doing a version of this already. It was two years ago in a PBS Blog segment called “Movie Night Friday”.

If you’ve really been exploring this blog, you may have noticed the Movie Night Friday page in the sidebar. I have decided (while watching Lean on Me the other day for the 1,000th time) that I’d like to start this back up again. This is my second attempt at re-starting this feature so I am really going to try sticking to it. I am not sure why I am making more work for myself.

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The purpose of Movie Night Friday is simple:

To help you to get to know more about me through the kinds of movies / TV shows I watch.

There is little that I do just for the sake of doing it. That said, the movies / TV shows that I watch I do so for a reason as I stopped watching TV for pure entertainment a long time ago. I will start this segment up again next week. I will also now include TV shows.

Pop Quiz: What movie does this line come from?

“No matter how hard it gets we haven’t finished yeeet…don’t leave me with regrets cause we haven’t finished yet. Oh, no no no no nooo.” Lol.

The Dog EC Hired to Help Host Movie Night Friday.
The Dog EC Hired to Help Host Movie Night Friday.

Ya’ll like my sidekick? He says he will help me keep up with Movie Night Fridays.

Step y’all movie game up! Lol. Enjoy your weekend, we’ll see you next week.

Diversify Your TV / Movie Selections

I know we all have our favorites but it is time to upgrade. In a couple weeks we’ll be moving on into another year. As such, I would like to propose an upgrade in entertainment. Last month I wrote a post called “Before The Weeks Ends” about diversifying our bookshelves. In this post, I spoke about how dedication to only certain kinds of books can limit our perspective in life. I proposed instead a diversity in reading selections. Don’t just read Romance but have a few “How-To” sprinkled in there. Don’t just read Erotica only but throw in some African American Literature every now and again. Have something that you can go to for a little fun but also something that will educate you and give you insight beyond the norm. That said, this same logic can be applied to TV. What you put out and also what you take in is reflective in your life. Meaning that if I put positive energy out there I expect positive energy to come back to me. But if Flavor of Love, which projects a negative image of my people, is the only thing I’m giving my energy to, how can I ever expect to grow beyond that way of thought?

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We can sit back and convince ourselves that these are just shows but it would be naïve to think it has no effect on our minds. While were on the subject (*climbs soap box*) why are some of these shows even out there in the first place? Why did Flavor of Love even exist? What was its purpose? Yes,  I watched the TV show back in the day and as I look back, what did it produce for me? What did it teach the teenage me? Did it teach me how to love? Did it teach me how to take care of a man? Did it teach me how to interact with the world? Own a business? What did Flavor of Love teach me as a young woman who needed to be guided?

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And why do black people support these kinds of shows anyway? The ones that take the worst of your people and highlight it to the entire world and is popular only because you watch it. Even though they do nothing for your growth as an individuals. There is nothing profound or mentally stimulating about these shows. There is nothing that will give you an understanding of life in these shows. These shows do nothing but highlight the activity of wild women that no man would ever commit to. These shows produce all this negative energy and then we wonder why we can’t get along with our men. Why we can’t stop using profanity. Why we can’t get along with other women. It’s because of what we’re feeding our minds. In your subconscious you’re imitating the women you watch every week and mimicking their ways.

*Gets down from soapbox*

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you what to watch and what not to watch. I am not your judge and we’re all adults here. What I will say is this: use a little wisdom in your selection. Like I said  I published a post on diversifying our bookshelves and I think this same logic can be applied to every aspect of our lives. Diversify your movie  and TV selections as well.  Don’t just sit back and watch the same shows over and over again. Throw some documentaries in there, some historical films, or tune into something that is new. It may be boring at first but so is everything that is different to your way of life. You never know, it just may give you insight into something you may not have known before. We cannot possibly think that what we read or watch or make permanent parts of our lives have no bearing on our lives. It takes more than just talking about growth to actually grow as individuals. It takes some form of change, not just for black people but all people. It begins with what we give our attention to because what we give always come back. Everything around you has an effect on you in some way. Choose wisely.

The Walking Dead

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Was so intense last night! I don’t want to ruin it for the others but all I’m gonna say is: “Is he is or is he aint?” Those of you who seen last night’s episode know exactly what I’m talking about!

OK so, below are just a two questions I have for the writers:

  • Where’s the Plague?

I don’t mean the Zombie plague; it’s enough of that going around. I mean the fly and maggot plague! With that many dead bodies around there should be flies and maggots and insects everywhere.

  • Kid Zombies?

Why are there no kid zombies! I see men, women, and even the elderly but there are no children zombies or baby zombies. Time out maybe?

  • The Smell

Again, with that number of zombies around the stench should be unbearable, but rarely do we see anyone covering their noses and mouths even when approaching new bodies. Maybe they got used to it?

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I know were all waiting for insight into Rick’s situation but don’t sleep on Morgan! This is a man filled with compassion but he is a beast. And, to all my Walking Dead Fans, did you catch what his stick represents? It’s a staff. Yup, like the one Moses had.

So anyway, which Walking Dead character are you? Just for fun.

Michonne (Danai Gurira) - The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

I’m gonna have to go with Michonne! Straight beast mode.

Unplug: Balance and Technology

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I have a motto in life: Balance is everything.
That said I try to maintain a proper balance in my life of all that I do because stability is foundational. If I like a particular desert I try not to overindulge. If I have a certain opinion, I try not to make that opinion law unless it is law. I enjoy exercising for example, and in so doing I try to maintain a certain body weight, but I do not believe fitness and diet itself makes one healthy entirely. I’m not going to turn exercise into some kind of religion and depend solely on salads to keep me healthy. I believe spiritual health is the key to physical fitness. If someone is weak minded it doesn’t matter how much they work out they will not survive hard times. I can store up as much water is necessary for a drought, but if I don’t possess a strong mind I will go thirsty still. That doesn’t mean however, that physical exercise is not important. It’s not always about losing weight but, as Jillian Michael’s puts it: “It’s about being strong physically so that you’re strong in every aspect of your life.” I don’t know much, but what I do know is that proper balance is everything, the lack of which can throw something off. An improper balance of one thing can cause too much or too little of something else. If you don’t drink enough water, you won’t be able to properly nourish your kidney’s. If you drink too much water, you can die (it has happened).

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Today’s technology is wonderful. Because of which I am able to reach people all over the world from this blog alone. Fifty years ago we could not have fathomed what technology has become today. It has changed everything. People can attend schools online. People can shop online. People can even publish books online. The increase in technology and the way it is used today is a great tool for the visionary. People who have a vision to share and understand how to properly use technology to make manifest that vision have greatly benefited from the blessings technology has to offer. Entrepreneurs and small business owners can take advantage of today’s technology to make their businesses more efficient and effective. No longer am I sitting at a desk hand writing this article out with the intent to mail it to every single one of you, but technology has instead given me the freedom to expedite that process by way of typing into a computer. I can then copy and paste this article into my blog post without having to re-type it. Technology has done this. Needless to say I am a big fan of technology.

But like I said, balance is everything.

While technology has made it easier to be in more than one place at a time, and to instantaneously receive and give information, the pacification of technology has taken away our ability to think critically, perform the simplest of tasks without it, and can even take away our desire for self sacrifice. Today, too many of us have become lazy, the smallest of tasks we are now unable or unwilling to perform. From using a broom to hand washing clothes much of the new school generation do not know how to perform these simple chores. We are a generation who grew up on the washing machines. It is (the washing machine), a beautiful invention that I adore. I appreciate having one because I know that many families do not. But if I don’t take the time to understand how to also wash clothes on my hand, this technology has become useless. It has become useless because when my washing machine breaks, and I cannot afford the laundry mat, I cannot wash my clothes. Technology is great, but when it get to the point where we cannot do something as simple as walk down the street without factoring technology into the equation, it has become a waste of valuable time, and an electronic leash in our lives.

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With the increase of Kindle and e-books for example, many book stores have closed because of the decline in print book reading. I’m a bible believer. So it is very much convenient to have a bible application on my smart phone. It gives me the chance to have it at my fingertips without having to carry around my hard copy. But I also need to be able to see the words off screen every now and again. I need to be able to highlight scriptures and run my fingers across these words, flip through pages, etc. But while Kindles, e-books, smart phone screens and PC monitors are great, print book reading is still a valuable skill; enhancing thinking critically, engages the imagination, reflection, and vocabulary. So every now and again I enjoy a good book and try to research outside the internet (which I must say is becoming increasingly more difficult to do).

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But I have an exercise / challenge for each of you: Every now and again (you can choose how more or less frequently), unplug. Step away from whatever form of technology is consuming a large majority of your time to the point it is stopping you from sharpening certain skills . If you don’t know how to wash clothes on your hands, let the washing machine breathe awhile. If you don’t know how to wash dishes without the dish washer, don’t use it for a few days. If you have never swept a floor, put the vacuum cleaner in the closet for a day or two. If you have lost study time because of Facebook or your husband /wife /children hate you because Twitter gets more time than they do, or your cell phone is practically attached to your hand, take a couple days and unplug.

Amazon-Fire-TV-Homescreen-002Studies show, for example, that watching TV, which we can now equate to the computer monitor and smart phone screen, tablet, etc., is equivalent to staring at a blank wall. Among the electrical waves in the brain is something called the alpha wave. It is the wave most active during sleep, creating a sense of relaxation when our eyes are closed. Studies show that this wave is most active while watching television. I like watching TV personally, and I enjoy seeing the symbolic messages embedded in some of my favorite TV shows, but I must maintain a proper balance between my TV time and study time; my TV time and praying time; my TV time and good old fashion conversation. I am not one to advocate for the complete annihilation of television. I understand the whole tel-evil-vision thing, but I think there’s a lot put out before our face that we need to know about. Much truth is revealed in movies and etc., that we often miss. At the same time, I do not think one should spend all of their time in front of the TV either, because there is also important information in books we often miss.

green-family-game-night-best-green-games-for-familyI must say again, I am a fan of technology. But I am also a woman of balance. If you can’t give up your electronic leash for a few days, you are missing out on other things that are non-technical. Technology is good, but family time, engaging with people face to face, print book reading, etch., these are all still very much needed in our lives as each provide a variety of skills and lessons to learn. Likewise (speaking of balancethose of you still living in the stone age need to also realize that technology is present in today’s world; if you are computer illiterate you should probably seek to adjust to the times and plug into a world of which you are absent. But getting back, the need to have things quickly and at our fingertips has limited so many skills on some level or another. Take a few days to step away from the screen for awhile, unplug, and you’ll be amazed at the level of calm and meditation you were able to achieve just by stepping back for awhile.