Joe Biden Tries to Cancel Thomas Edison
A Joe Biden terrified that the African-American vote is slipping away from the party of pandering made an absurd claim during a rare day trip from his basement bunker to Kenosha, Wisconsin. At least his handlers were able to find and lead him to Wisconsin, which Hillary Clinton failed to do in 2016.
Biden had just finished a meeting with the family of Jacob Blake, the young African-American wanted on a felony warrant for sexual abuse shot after struggling with police. As part of his portrayal of the Trump administration as oppressors of blacks and white people as guardians of systemic racism, even if it is Democrats who run the system where urban unrest is occurring, Biden decided to add another wrinkle -- whites are stealing credit for African-American inventions:
During a Thursday meeting with Kenosha, Wis., community leaders, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said that a black man, rather than Thomas Edison, invented the light bulb.
"People fear that which is different. We've got to, for example, why in God's name don't we teach history in history classes? A Black man invented the light bulb, not a White guy named Edison," Biden said. "There's so much -- did anybody know before what recently happened that Black Wall Street in Oklahoma was burned to the ground."
Well, the Joe Biden who once eloquently said he chose truth over facts got both wrong, as Democrats frequently do. The fact is that old white guy Edison invented the light bulb and an African-American later improved Edison’s invention with a longer-lasting filament:
It was Edison who first invented the light bulb and a filament that could last 1,200 hours. According to the Department of Energy, Edison secured patents for the incandescent light bulb in 1879 and 1880. Biden was likely referring to Lewis Howard Latimer, who, according to a biography by MIT, patented an improved version of an incandescent light bulb in 1881 that could last even longer than Edison's. For perspective, 1,200 hours is 50 days -- far less time than modern incandescent bulbs last.
Latimer at the time worked for one of the companies competing with Edison's. Latimer was a child of former slaves, a Union Navy veteran, a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and eventually the only Black member of the research team known as "Edison's Pioneers”… But he was not the original inventor of the light bulb.
No, he was not. Joe Biden was right about one thing, though -- American history, the politically incorrect unvarnished truth of our journey to where we are today, and how America became the country it is, is no longer taught in American schools. Biden’s history is a lie agreed upon, a history that begins in the 1619 of the New York Times and not the 1776 of the Declaration of Independence.
It was an odd comment from a political candidate who applauds the cancel culture slowly erasing our history, typified by the toppling of statues and defacing of monuments, including statues of black abolitionist and Republican Fredrick Douglass.
The destruction of what was known as "Black Wall Street" that Biden mentioned isn’t “what recently happened.” That happened in 1921 and was indeed a racial stain on American history. The white racists who perpetrated it were largely Klansmen and white Southern Democrats who, like other Democrats throughout the South, actively resisted the black progress encouraged by the party of Abraham Lincoln, the Republican Party that had freed slaves once owned by Democrats who were busy founding the KKK. As conservative activist Wayne Dupree notes:
In 1921, the Greenwood district in Tulsa was a community of 15,000 Black people -- a small city within a segregated city. There were working people, those who had fled the slave-like chains of sharecropping, veterans back from World War 1, as well as doctors and lawyers and business owners. Some called it the “Black Wall Street.” The white racists of Tulsa hated Greenwood, and the powers openly expressed a desire to drive the Black people out.
On May 31, 1921, a Black shoe shiner named Dick Rowland rode an elevator operated by a white woman. When the elevator reached the lobby, some people allegedly heard the woman scream and saw Rowland run from the scene. No charges were ever filed against Rowland. But he was arrested and taken to the county jail.
A mob showed up with the intention of lynching Rowland, but the population of Greenwood resisted, and the conflict evolved into a full-blown race riot orchestrated largely by Klansmen:
The people of Greenwood tried to resist -- but they could not hold back against the overwhelming force of the enemy. Gangs of white people, many of them Klansmen, went house to house, looting and killing. The fires set by the invaders would destroy about 1,200 houses and businesses, wiping Greenwood off the map.
Let’s get one thing clear. The gangs of Klansmen were not Republicans or Trump supporters -- they were Democrats. The destruction and death they visited on Tulsa is not on unlike the destruction and rising crime and murder rates in the inner cities run by, you guessed it, patronizing and benevolent Democrats.
The party of Abraham Lincoln always supported black progress and entrepreneurship, just as President Trump is doing with his Opportunity Zones. Biden forgets the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, sort of a black J.P. Morgan Chase. It was incorporated in 1865 by an act signed by President Lincoln. Its purpose was to create an institution where former slaves and their dependents could save their money. According to Freebmansbank.org:
President Abraham Lincoln established the Freedman’s Bank on March 3, 1865 as part of the Freedman’s Bureau. As the Civil War drew to a close, the United States Congress and President Lincoln recognized the need to aid newly freed black men and women in their transition to freedom. To support the land grants and other elements of the Freedman’s Bureau Act, a Freedman’s Bank was established to help newly freed Americans navigate their financial lives. Call it the financial literacy program of its day.
During its existence, The Freedman’s Bank maintained some 37 offices in 17 states, including the District of Columbia. At it’s height, the Bank had over $57 million in deposits (adjusted for inflation) and 70,000 depositors.
A continued Lincoln presidency and black progress under Republican guidance and encouragement was dashed by a bullet fired by a Democrat into the back of Lincoln’s head. More stuff they don’t teach in history classes, Mr. Biden.
Still, blacks made significant progress in the early 20th century until the New Deal of FDR and the Great Society of LBJ destroyed the black family and replaced fathers in the home with fathers in Washington, D.C. Note that the destruction of the nuclear family is a prime point in the manifesto of the Black Lives Matter organization. As Robert Woodson of the Woodson Center notes in the Daily Signal:
In 1917, in the Bronzeville area of Chicago, there were 731 black-owned businesses. Blacks owned $100 million in real estate there in 1929. Some 192 local churches provided social services.
In Philadelphia, blacks dominated the catering business until the end of the 19th century, making that city’s catering famous across the country. James Forten, one of Philadelphia’s principal sailmakers, employed more than 40 white and black workers and had a fortune of $100,000 in the 1830s…
In the first 50 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, black Americans had accumulated a personal wealth of $700 million. They owned more than 40,000 businesses, 40,000 churches, and 937,999 farms. The literacy rate had climbed from 5% to 70%.
Black commercial enclaves in Durham, North Carolina, and the Greenwood Avenue section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, were together known as the Negro Wall Street.
In an era of legalized discrimination, the marriage rate in the black community was higher than it was in the white community despite times of economic deprivation and racism.
Then the secular, progressive, and socialist policies of the Democratic Party, FDR, LBJ, and now Joe Biden became ascendant. The rest is history.
President Trump is trying to change that by encouraging once again black entrepreneurship and economic progress in his Opportunity Zones, a policy advanced by South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott. Ask Alice Marie Johnson, freed under President Trump’s criminal justice reform, about Republican racism.
Democrats still talk a lot about slavery, but all they succeeded in doing was to move blacks to a different plantation.
Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor’s Business Daily and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.