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107 Jamz Celebrates Black History Month- Today In History

During this time of the year “Mardi Gras”, the street sweeper is a God send.  It would be one heck of a job if all the trash, bottle, beads, candy, food etc had to be manually swept or picked up.  Instead of it taking a couple of hours, with the thousands of parade goers on the loose, it would take weeks.Thanks to black inventor Charles Brooks, the city workers of Lake Charles, don’t have to worry about that.  Unfortunately very little is known of his early life, and there’s no known photo of him.  However, what is known is that Charles Brooks was from Newark, New Jersey and he invented improvements to street sweeper trucks that he patented on March 17, 1896.

His truck had revolving brushes attached to the front fender and the brushes were interchangeable with scrapers that could be used in winter for snow removal, unlike the first machines. Charles Brook also designed an improved refuse receptacle for storing the collected garbage and litter and a wheel drive for the automatic turning of the brushes and for powering a lifting mechanism for the scrapers.

So, how was trash picked up before Mr. Brooks’ truck?  The Hard way, historically streets were commonly cleaned by chain gang, walking workers, picking up by hand or broom, or by horse-drawn machines. Thankfully, Mr. Brooks’ truck had brushes attached to the front fender that pushed trash to the curb.

Brooks Street
Charles Brooks Paper

The street sweeper wasn’t his only invention.  He also patented the first paper punch with a receptacle for holding the pieces’, ironically long before they were called that!

Today in history:

In 1892, the first African American performers, the World’s Fair Colored Opera Company, appear at Carnegie Hall.  In 1907, Wendell P. Dabney establishes The Union. The Cincinnati, Ohio paper’s motto is “For no people can become great without being united, for in union there is strength.”  In 1920, The Negro National League (NNL) was established because Major League Baseball was segregated. Led by Rube Foster, owner and manager of the Chicago American Giants, the NNL was established by a coalition of team owners at a meeting in a Kansas City YMCA.   The new league was the first African-American baseball circuit to achieve stability and last more than one season.  At first the league operated mainly in mid-western cities, ranging from Kansas City in the west to Pittsburgh in the east; in 1924 it expanded into the south, adding franchises in Birmingham and Memphis.  In 1923, The first Black professional basketball team “The Renaissance” organized.  In 1957, Southern Christian Leadership Conference organized at New Orleans meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. as president.  In 1970, the New York Stock Exchange admits its first Black member, Joseph Searles.


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