Bronzeville Childrens Museum exhibit showcases African American inventors

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In honor of Black History Month, ABC7 is showcasing the achievements of African Americans.

Kindergartners from Alaine Locke School on the West Side are playing with a purpose. While they enjoy themselves at the Bronzeville Childrens Museum, they are also learning that many of the things they take for granted were actually invented by black people.

"When you think in terms of when they eat ice cream, the ice cream scoop was invented by a black man. When they ride the L, just think about it, the third rail was invented by a black man," said Peggy Montes, founder and president of the Bronzeville Children's Museum.

It's part of a new exhibit called "African American Inventors - Changing Lives," ranging from famous names like beauty products inventor Madame C.J. Walker to other, lessor-known like Frederick Jones, who invented the refrigerated truck. Items for the youngsters to examine include the stop light to a longer-lasting light bulb.

"With the interactives, the children learn," Montes said. "They remember and that's really what the goal happens to be."

And it's all explained in terms that young minds can comprehend.

"So she actually invented a special astronaut space suit so that when they go up into outer space and they start to get sick, they would know it and they would be able to take medicine so they would feel better," said Pia Montes, a tour guide. "So let's say 'Patricia Cowings.'"

And you're looking at some really quick learners!

"You can make anything with technology or math or you can just think in your brain," said 6-year-old Lazarria Pierce.

When asked what she would invent one day, Alexis Johnson, 6, said, "A pancake mixer. I would make pancakes for all the people in the world."

The Bronzeville Childrens Museum is located at 9301 S. Stony Island and is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The inventors exhibit will be there for the next year or so.
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