Blythewood Historical Society celebrates African American four-part Saturday series for children

Blythewood Historical Society founding member Frankie McLean and Azahra Pendleton discuss the wonders of a 1940’s washing machine on display during the Saturday program at the Langford-Nord House. The clothes wringer was invented by African American Elin Eglin in the late 1800s. The ‘wringer’ revolutionized the chore of laundering clothes. | Photos: Barbara Ball

BLYTHEWOOD – The Blythewood Historical Society is celebrating Black History Month this year with a Saturday children’s series about African American inventors and writers, plus the Historical Society’s staff will be assisting with on-the-spot recordings of oral histories between a child, parents and/or grandparents.

The series kicked off on Saturday with a presentation and exhibit of numerous African American inventions by local author and researcher, Ms. Vii.

“Did you know,” she asked her audience, “that it was an African American (William Richardson) who invented the baby carriage that was patented in 1889? And there were other inventions by African Americans – the ironing board, the first clock made in America, the traffic signal, the inner workings of the cell phone; and many more.”

Miss Vii led the children through the exhibit displayed on a tiered table in The Nord House about inventions from 1834 to the present.

When asked to name their favorite African American invention, Azahra and Akira Pendleton, who both attend Round Top Elementary School, answered, “The cell phone.” While many people attribute the cell phone to Europeans, Miss Vii said the first digital cell phone was invented by an African American man named Jesse Eugene Russell, an electrical engineer and business executive who was born in 1948.

The presentation was followed by refreshments and visiting. 

Next Saturday, African American authors Miriam B. Gantt and Ginetta V. Hamilton will read their children’s books to the children in attendance.

On Saturday, Feb. 18, African American authors Tracy Smith and Bertha White will read from their published children’s books.

The final Saturday, Feb. 25, the Blythewood Historical Society will offer to assist children who would like to have their own oral histories made with their parents and/or grandparents.

A videographer and interview questions (if needed) will be provided. The oral histories will be recorded only on Saturday and appointments are necessary. Appointments can be made by calling 803-333-8133.

All presentations in the Saturday series are scheduled between 10 am. – 12 p.m., at the Nord House, 100 McNulty Street in Blythewood.

Refreshments will be served following each presentation.

Following Miss Vii’s presentation, Margaret Kelly serves refreshments to Angel Stillwell.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]