Dr. James West — Inventor of the Electret Microphone

In 1996, I published a book titled “Black Profiles in Courage.” It was my take on American history that included the contributions of black Americans. In so many of our history books, the efforts of black Americans go unrecognized. Since publishing that book, I’ve come across much more information that fits this profile. So, I’d like to give some acknowledgment …


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Bessie Coleman Helped Black Women Soar

The “friendly skies” of aviation have not always been that friendly to women pilots.  Currently there are about 4,000 women airline pilots out of the nearly 80,000 male airline pilots.  The first female airline pilot was Helen Richey, who was hired by Central Airlines in 1934.  After only 10 months on the job, she resigned because the all-male pilots union …


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Bebop and Beyond

Herbie Hancock has just been awarded the 2008 Grammy award for Album of the Year — a collaborative effort with Joni Mitchell. I’ve known Herbie since I was in high school. The night of my high school graduation, I went to the Village Vanguard and had the pleasure of seeing him perform with Miles Davis’ band, without Miles. I got …


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Care & Maintenance of the Over-50 Athlete: Core Fitness

When I was a kid, most of the fathers over 50 would settle into their sofas at night with a beer and watch TV. Until the remote was invented (the first was in 1950, from Zenith, and it was appropriately named “Lazy Bones”), the most exercise a lot of dads got was getting up to change the channel during the …


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Star Wars, NBA-Style

As we approach the NBA All-Star break, we are witnessing the cumulative effect of much maneuvering on the part of the more dominant franchises. The Spurs — the  defending champs — are the only team that has played a pat hand. Summer ’07 saw the Lakers trying to make a deal to acquire K.G., which would ultimately fail.  But that …


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The Real History of the Light Bulb

I’m currently writing a children’s book, What Color Is My Day? How African-American Inventors Affect Your Daily Life, that shows children how many conveniences that they take for granted every day were actually the result of African-American inventors.  One of the inventors I profile is Lewis Latimer.  Look over at the light bulb that is helping you read this and …


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Cypress College Students Impress Basketball Legend

I had the opportunity to address the students and high school guests at Cypress College for Black History Month this afternoon. It is very important to get the message to them that their education is about the most important aspect of their young lives. I spoke to them about my own experiences as a high school student in New York …


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How to Shoot a Skyhook … after 50

The 50-plus player can still run with a younger crowd at the park or fitness club, but it’s best to avoid knocking around in the mosh pit under the basket. One trick the guys won’t see coming? The skyhook. You don’t have to be 7-foot-2: this is one of those rare times in life when someone says to you size …


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Musicians Play Politics

I was honored to work with will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas at the Record Plant in Hollywood and help him with the “Yes We Can Video” inspired by Barack Obama’s speech. In less than one week, over 6 million people went to Dipdive and over 2 million people saw the video on YouTube! Will feels that in times like …


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Giants Rule the World!

I was very happy to see the Giants win because when I was a kid they always lost the important games. I remember when they lost to Baltimore in 1958, in 1960 when they lost to Philadelphia, twice to Green Bay in 1961 and 1962, and then again to Chicago in 1963. I remember they were like the Brooklyn Dodgers, …


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