Nearest Green introduced the coal distillery techniques of ancient African cultures to Jack Daniel in the creation of his famed whiskey. (Courtesy photo)
Nearest Green introduced the coal distillery techniques of ancient African cultures to Jack Daniel in the creation of his famed whiskey. (Courtesy photo)

INOULATION WAS INTRODUCED TO AMERICA BY AN ENSLAVED MAN — ONESIMUS

The processes and methods of inoculation that continue to save billions of lives each year in the U.S. were introduced to the nation through an enslaved man, named Onesimus. (Courtesy photo) hist

Onesimus introduced the centuries-old tradition of inoculation practiced in Africa to Boston physician Dr. Dabdiel Bolyston. By extracting the material from an infected person and scratching it into the skin of an uninfected person, you could deliberately introduce smallpox to the healthy individual making them immune. Boylston experimented with the procedure when a smallpox epidemic hit Boston in 1721 and over 240 people were inoculated. Onesimus’ traditional African practice was used to inoculate American soldiers during the Revolutionary War and eventually became a staple in American public health.

A QUARTER OF ALL COWBOYS WERE AFRICAN AMERICAN

In the 19th century, the Wild West drew enslaved Blacks with the hope of freedom and wages. When the Civil War ended, freedmen came West with the hope of a better life where the demand for skilled labor was high. These African Americans made up at least a quarter of the legendary cowboys who lived dangerous lives facing weather, rattlesnakes, and outlaws while they slept under the stars driving cattle herds to market. the real “Lone Ranger” was inspired by an African American man named Bass Reeves. He eventually became a Deputy U.S. Marshal, was a master of disguise, an expert marksman, had a Native American companion, and rode a silver horse.

JACK DANIEL’S WHISKEY AIDED BY TRADITIONAL AFRICAN, AFRICAN TECHNIQUES

In the late 1850’s, Nathan “Nearest” Green — a farm owner’s slave — started working with a young orphan named Jack Daniel at a local distillery. In short order, he introduced the burgeoning company to that would become Jack Daniel’s Whiskey an ancient African technique that filtered liquor through a charcoal mellowing system. This technique is what gives Jack Daniel’s Whiskey its rich flavor and taste and make it a household name among drinkers to this day.

FEMALE BUFFALO SOLDIER – CATHAY WILLIAMS

Cathay Williams was the first and only known female Buffalo Soldier. Despite the prohibition against women serving in the military, Williams enlisted in the U.S. Regular Army under the false name of “William Cathay” on November 15, 1866. She enlisted for a three-year engagement, passing herself off as a man. Williams was assigned to the 38th U.S. Infantry Regiment after she passed the cursory medical examination.

PONY EXPRESS’ ‘KNIGHT OF THE SIERRAS’

George Monroe is thought to be one of the first African Americans to work as Pony Express riders. Monroe was also a highly skilled stagecoach driver for U.S. presidents Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield and Rutherford B. Hayes. Monroe, who was known as “Knight of the Sierras,” frequently navigated passengers through the curving Wanona Trail in the Yosemite Valley. As a result, Monroe Meadows in Yosemite National Park is named after him.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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