Excerpts From Students’ Letters to the Author
“First and foremost, on behalf of my class, I would like to thank you for writing “How African American Inventions Changed America.” Even though I have only read one of your books, it has inspired me to learn more about my African American culture.
When your book was first given to me, I thought it was just going to be just another boring book about civilizations with a lot of boring years and dates. But your book wasn't boring at all because it was about my real history. It was all about my people for a change. Your book was so inspiring and enlightening.
It taught me that young Black people need to know more about our background and history. Your book has shown me to be proud of my roots and ancestors. Although I am inspired by Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, we need to hear about other Black people that are never talked about in school. Thank you for writing this book.”
“I read your book entitled "Just Like Me - How African American Inventions Changed America." I did not know so many African Americans had invented so many things that make such a big difference in our everyday lives. I was so shocked to find out that African Americans invented so many of our things that I use everyday and that other people use throughout the world. I always thought that white people invented all of these things because that's what is in most of the books I read. But when I read in your book that it was the other way around, it made me so proud to be an African American.
Some people have tried to make Black people feel bad about ourselves by saying and writing bad things about us. But we are not ignorant and lazy. Mr. Baker, your books prove that there are a lot of great things in this world that Black people can do other than sell drugs and kill people. We can get jobs or start our own business like you did. We can show that we can work together and love one another. We can go to school and get an education. We can pass the SAT-9 with the highest scores. We can get into college and become whatever we want to be. As an African American, I can make my family proud of me like the African American inventors made us proud of them. Thank you for inspiring me with this book. I look forward to reading the other ones.”
Tabea Leggett, 8th Grader
“ I read "Just Like Me - How African American Inventions Changed America" and I didn't know that we as African American invented as much as we did. Reading this book really helped me to understand more about myself. You see, I am an African American, too. I attend a school that was listed in the Washington Post Newspaper for having low-test scores. When I read about all of these Black people who invented all of these important things that we need everyday, I know that I can do better than I am doing in school. Now, when I use inventions such as the refrigerator, light bulb, and the ironing board, I think about the fact that my ancestors invented these things and how proud it makes me feel. This book was very useful in making me think more about my own history and the important contributions my ancestors made to this civilization.
I think these books should be in all DC public and private school libraries. I think everyone should know this information by the fifth grade, especially African American students. I think it is important for African American children to know about their history and the important contributions that African American made in our society because [it] will make them feel good about themselves and proud to be who they are.