SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Department of Elder Affairs celebrated Black History Month with a Black Inventions Museum Exhibit on Wednesday.

This exhibit will highlight the inventions we use today, which were created by Black inventors, according to a news release sent to 22News from the City of Springfield. These inventors paved the way for how we use these everyday creations such as the traffic light, answering the machine, pencil sharpener, and more. Some of these African-American innovators were unknown even to the audience, since racism had kept their pioneering work well under the radar.

Sylvia Bethea of Springfield is proud to have attended Wednesday’s program, “It’s very important that we know our history. We know all about American history and we of course are part of American history, but somehow we were excluded. And now it’s time to bring us forward, we need to know.”

Gwendolyn Smith of Springfield told 22News, “It’s very crucial, many of the millions of children are not getting this in school. So we have to bring this forth as much as we can, that what we hope to do and have it shown in the schools.”

There was also be a gospel concert on Wednesday that featured performers from the Community School, Vanessa Ford, and more.

Mayor Domenic Sarno of Springfield states, “I want to thank our elegant and eloquent Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, Elder Affairs Director Sandy Federico, and their staff for hosting this wonderful exhibit as we celebrate Black History Month.  The city of Springfield is proud to celebrate the rich diversity and beautiful mosaic that is our Springfield community, and this Black Inventions Museum Exhibit is an integral part of not just Springfield’s history, but our Nations history too.  Black history is our history!  Special thanks to Henry Thomas, Yvette Frisby, and Andrew Cade from the Urban League of Springfield and the Black Springfield COVID-19 Coalition for their continued partnership in helping to provide the life-saving vaccine and booster shots to our Springfield residents.”