Univ. of Louisiana @ Lafayette
Status of African American Symposium
“A Foundation on Which We Can Build” 
Dr. Toni S. Muhammad shares comments from her undergraduate Introduction to Sociology students regarding their ideas, impressions, and perspectives of Dr. Umar Bey’s presentation, at the ULL Status of African American Symposium February 2011 at the Bayou Bijou Theatre. 


Enjoy this glimpse into the thoughts and hearts of our young people.
(The following are unedited remarks and reviews submitted by college students)

Student A
“Sitting in Bayou Bijou Theatre I had no real expectations of what I thought Dr. Umar Bey’s presentation would be about. I never took the time to understand what an important role Black History play’s in my life. From Kindergarten to Senior year I knew that the month of February was nationally recognized for Black History Month. Over the years we learned about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all he did to insure one day everyone would be treated equal. Rosa Parks how she finally had enough and took a stand and said NO! I won’t sit on the back of the bus. We also studied other well known African Americans and it seemed like before it started Black History Month was over until the following February. 
     When Dr. Umar Bey said take from this presentation on Black History and apply it to everyday day life. He literally meant EVERY DAY LIFE. Because I don’t know of one person who doesn’t celebrate Africanism every day whether it‘s consciously of subconsciously. My favorite was when he took out the six string guitar and said where would Jimi Hendrix be without this. There would probably be no Rock-n-Roll and that would be a sad, sad thing. Nothing I love more than watching a sexy artist put everything he has into signing a song he is passionate about. That is most definitely a way I can celebrate Black History daily throughout my life. Appreciating the Guitar which was invented by Mr. Robert Fleming Jr. Another way is to be thankful of as it was called decades ago “A chamber commode” and in recent years has become known as The Toilet. And another great invention  in 1975 by Mr. Joseph Thompson, Jr. “Charmin Toilet Paper”. Those two just go hand in hand. 
      Dr. Umar Bey concluded his presentation by saying “ In this world there are only 2 kinds of people: male and female. If you want to go further than male and female there is the good and the evil.” I was extremely impressed with Dr. Umar Bey’s overall presentation and that I can know appreciate Black History that much more.”

Student B

  The Home of the Original Traveling Black Inventions Museum visited the University of Louisiana to educate our students on the proper way to celebrate black culture. Dr. Umar Bey, the president of the traveling African American inventors’ museum was the speaker of this performance and his words carried a lot of weight throughout the ears of the students he reached. At the performance, I learned about numerous simple and complex inventions and innovations that have come from the minds of colored people, although many aren't given recognition for them. 

Student C
Things as simple as a toilet to refrigeration to a light switch, were invented by colored people and when we use these inventions plus many more, we should be celebrating the black culture every day. This presentation hit me hard because I realized how ill-informed I am when it comes to the accomplishments of not only black people but colored people from all nations. I am very ashamed about how our economic system doesn’t accredit the deserving people in our schools and teach the truth about “black history month” to our youth. After learning not even all of the things invented, I formed a great respect towards those inventors and started considering aspects of inventing something myself to make money. This presentation was amazing, and I benefited greatly frBlair A. 
I thought Dr. Omar Bey’s presentation was very good.  I really enjoyed seeing his traveling African American inventors museum.  I was amazed at all the things African Americans have invented over the years.  Little things that we use on a daily basis, such as a toliet.  I like how he gave a breif  explanation about each individual. 
Dr. Omar Bey really inspired me to be all I can be.  He taught me to never give up and maybe one day I will be apart of his traving African American inventors musuem.  He has really motivated me to make a change in my community  and maybe one day the word.       
Student D
I really enjoyed the Home of the Original Traveling Black Inventions Museum. Everything was wonderful and I love the theme: A Foundation On Which We Can Build! I also enjoyed Dr. Umar Bey's presentation on what he has learned by traveling and doing research. I think what he does for a living is very needed; going around the world educating and encouraging all people of all nationalityis great and selfless. He is simply letting people know that they to can be the next inventor. This event was very interesting and informing. I enjoyed Dr. Bey's testimony about his visit in Egypt. He is well spoken and educated man who enlighted my mind. 
I thought i knew a lot about the inventions that were rooted from the black culture but I was definitely educated on many things at this event. I would have never thought that a black man would have invented  telephone transmitter or thermostat controls. I learned that i am the only person who is stopping me from expanding in life. When a thought come tho mind act on it! The saying of Dr. Bey, "everyday we use black history so everyday we are celebrating black history." I learned that it is not a race issue it is all about the human being. As Dr. Bey's says,  "master yourself , know yourself, and love yourself." 
Student E
I brougt my boyfriend with me to this event and when we left we were both going on and on about what inventions we could create to contribute to society. The information that Dr. Umar bey presented was interesting, to say the least. He not only taught us about black history but also other important life lessons. I enjoyed this to the fullest.
Student F
Dr. Umar Bey’s presentation of the Original Traveling Black Inventions Museum was enlightening and interesting. The items that were brought to the presentation were interesting. Who would have thought that an African American invented the horseshoe and saddle? People really do not think about who invented the things we have.  I learned accurate facts about who invented what inventions. I also learned information that I did not know. For example, I did not know that so many things that we use in everyday life were invented by African Americans. The presentation made me prouder to be an African American. I really liked and enjoyed listening to Dr. Umar. It is clear to see that he loves what he does and wants to let people know that if you put your mind to it, you too can be an inventor. 
Dr. Bey was able to show that Black History month can be celebrated by all ethnics. He also made it aware that you can celebrate black history month every day, and to appreciate and be thankful for the people who invented the things we so desperately need and use daily. I also like the fact that his presentation was entertaining. He was able to make you laugh, while listening to history. Since, most people who talk about history make it boring and not exciting. Dr. Bey is a person that many people should take the time and listen to. It was very surprising to here that Dr. Bey was working on an invention of his own, which was for vehicles to run on water. This can be the best invention ever, since gas is so high.After being at his presentation, I have realized that I should learn more about African American History. He was able to teach and inspire me. 


Student G
Dr. Umar Bey's presentation has changed the way I think about black history to a very large extent. I never knew that several things that I use everyday of my life were invented by black people. While in a way, history is the same for everyone, the contributions of black people to science and engineering have been neglected in mainstream education so they should get special attention. Dr. Bey's background as a math and science teacher makes him a good person to do this. 
I was surprised at the list of inventions that Dr. Bey listed. I was especially impressed by the spark plug which is basic to the entire automobile industry, and by the hydraulic shock absorber. Besides the scientific part of the presentation, I was impressed at how widely Dr. Bey has studied history in general. You can watch a lot of movies and never know there were any black people in the "Old West."

Student H 

When I first heard of Dr. Bey’s presentation, the Traveling Museum, and the African American Symposium, to be honest, I was a little skeptical about attending an event of that particular nature. At first I thought perhaps I would seem out of place, not being an African American myself, but not long into the presentation did Dr. Bey dispel that notion of mine. He made it blatantly clear that no one person or race is above another, or should have precedence over another. We are all God’s children and we as his children should recognize and embrace that! I was glad that the event was opened to anyone who wanted to attend, because I believe it is a wonderful idea to try new things, and to try to understand where people are “coming from” so to speak. In retrospect I am glad that I did decide to attend the presentation. Aside from the extra-credits involved, the entire event was very informative and quite enjoyable.
Personally, as someone who enjoys informal history, I had a very general idea of the impact of African American on the inventions and innovations of the United States of America. Dr. Bey took my general knowledge of their impact a step further, he expounded on their accomplishments. He also compelled others, not just African Americans, to be modern day inventors and innovators in order to make the world a better place. The one thing that caught my attention, and stood out from the rest in the event was the Black National Anthem. That was my first time ever hearing, or knowing that such a thing existed. The song was a beautiful piece of music and the words were touching. 
Student I
I knew from one of my English courses at UL which emphasized music, that black people had made most of the contributions of what is truly original in American music, and about great black athletes, but I had no idea of many of the contributions in many other areas. Everyone hears about George Washington Carver. I wondered if the Jack Johnson who invented a wrench was the same as the heavyweight champion.
I actually think I know about someone who should be included in Dr. Bey's talk: Viven Theodore Thomas (1910-1985), was born in New Iberia and became an assistant to Dr. Blalock at Johns Hopkins. Mr. Thomas did not have a college degree, but did great research for Dr. Blalock despite terrible racism in Baltimore. Dr. Bey might be especially interested in Mr. Thomas because he was a descendant of a slave and was born in New Iberia.

Student J
My impressions of Dr. Umar Bey is overwhelming.  He is an exceptional man.  Going on stage to see the different things that African Americans discovered is amazing.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that a black woman invented hair products and the school to produce her products.  Madame T. J. Walker is a awesome woman.  For her to over come what society offered in her times let me know that today I can over come any obsticiles that try to stand in my way.  Along with Dr. Umar Bey, his wisdom, knowledge and understanding of what it takes to move forward opens the door for opportunities for many.
     Dr. Umar Bey, showed me his belief and his confidence.  When he mentioned that everyone should master the Law of Vibrations, I believe that because one can go a long way by the feel of the person you come across.  Master of Self is very important to me.  To put myself first and to want what I want for myself, what for everyone else is not a selfish act.  I have to get what I can get then give to everyone who is willing to get, that is awesome.  He made me feel that all is not lost because if it was I would not be where I am today.  I learned many things that night, thanks to Dr. Bey.  When I saw that old bug spray can, my thoughts went back to my grandmother using it and I wondered, did she know that was invented by a black man.  Even to the point of brushing her hair, did she know about that also.  I know that in these days education is very important but after listening to Dr. Umar Bey, I know that knowledge is very very powerful and without it, I wonder how far can one really go.  Thank you Dr. Umar Bey.

Student K
The presentation held on 22 February 2011 by Dr. Bey was aimed at enlightening people with respect to black inventors. The presentation was very well done, hilighting many everyday items invented by blacks as many as 200 years ago. These items ranged from the ice cream scooper to the TV remote we use today to the start of the bug spray can.

The most intriguing part of Dr Beyʼs speech was the summary of the super soaker invention. The inventor, Lonnie Johnson, made over 100 million dollars in the first year of production. That number boggles the mind when we consider the fact it has been more than 20 years since the advent of the popular water gun.
What learned symposium is that Black History is not used only in the month of February. It is used in everyday life. Dr. Umar Bey showed us all of the different types of invention that african americans invented. Many of the african american inventors became rich off of there inventions being used in daily life now. Dr. Bey showed that we could appreciate black history even if we arent african american. He told us that its more that just for african americans. All races have the right to celebrate and be thankful for what many of the african Americans contributed to us. What i really like about Dr. Bey is that he has been all over world and knows whats its like in many parts of the world. He even has two books out. His first book he had sold for hundreds of dollars on Amazon at one time.
What i enjoyed about the symposium was when Dr. Umar told us about how on african american man invented the traffic light. He did a great job of giving examples of how that invention really made a big impact on the whole world. One great example he gave was when he asked us to image how it would feel if there were no traffic lights on Johnson street. Everyone know how drama would go on with only a traffic intructor commanding the ways. Another great example that he have to us was when he explain to us who made the toilet. Many of us didnt know who invented that til he acknowledged us. The example he gave us was to picture urself needing to go to the restroom without no where to use it. He asked where would u go. When he said that i was like wow I celebrate black history plenty of times a day. With all of this being said i really thank him for allow us to see how african americans play a really important role in everyones lives.

TSM has held faculty positions at Grambling State University, Western Illinois University, Georgia Perimeter College, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, University of Phoenix, and numerous other institutions. Her areas of teaching and research are black studies, black women in the Nation of Islam, and social inequality. In 2005, she was included into the Directory of American Scholars Who’s Who of American Scholars by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Who’s Who in Social Sciences Higher Education by Academic Keys for the Social Sciences.  “Dr. Toni”, as close friends know her, currently teaches in the Atlanta, Georgia area.


For more information on this awesome sister visit her site:


http://www.tonisimsmuhammad.com

DR. TONI SIMS MUHAMMAD







Scholar, Sister, Community Activist

PRESIDENT & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of

VANGUARD EDUCATIONAL SERVICES

“PROMOTING POSITIVES IMAGES”

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