Black History Month Moment

Southside Chicago, early 1920’s

Cyrus Rufus Johnson was one of the few successful African American men in the Southside of Chicago. With a booming shoe repair and dry cleaning business, he was able to afford luxuries that most African Americans could only dream of. Cyrus had a wonderful family, wife, Sallie Mae, a son, Cyrus Jr and a daughter, Lashonda. One day, Cyrus decided to surprise his family. He had been saving money on the side and showed up one day with a brand new television. With the invent of the television just recently occuring, Cyrus was the first African American in his neighborhood to own a television set. He sat it right on the living room floor.

“Oooooh daddy, you’re the best” his kids cried.

“Honey, how did you ever afford it” said his wife.

But it was Cyrus’ secret. He wanted his family to be happy. He held parties and dinners at this house inviting his friends and those less fortunate to share in the wonder of modern technology. Cyrus and his family enjoyed months and months of fun and times watching television.

One day, while Cyrus was at work, Lashonda and Cyrus Jr. were playing catch in the house.

“Wanna see how fast I can throw this ball” shouted Cyrus Jr. He curled up his arm and threw it as hard as he could. The ball whizzed past his sister bounced off the wall and knocked the antenna and channel knob right off the television.

“Oooooooooooooooh” shouted Lashonda. “You’re in trouble!!! I’m telling daddy”

When Cyrus arrived home from work, his kids immediately told him what happened. Cyrus rushed to the television, turned it on and saw nothing but blurry pictures and “snow”. Worried he immediately tried to replace the knob and the antenna but no luck. It seemed as if the television was broken.

Cyrus went into the kitchen to talk to his wife who was cooking dinner, listening to the radio. His wife, noticed his disappointment, tried to give him words of encouragement. “Baby it’ll be okay”. Cyrus sat there in a daze, looking at the kitchen table. He explained to his wife how he tried to put the antenna back in place but still no picture. “It’s like it’s not picking up the signal”. Cyrus watched his wife about to put the dinner in oven but everytime she crossed the radio, the signal would go get stronger. “Do that again honey”. Everytime she walked across the radio, the signal would get stronger. His wife was carrying the answer. The chicken she was about to bake was covered. With aluminum foil.

Cyrus ran into the living with a piece of foil. He ripped off two small pieces placing them on the tip of each antenna. He placed the antenna back into the television. He grabbed a pair of pliers. Turned on the television and some would call it magic, but the television mysteriously worked again!!!!!!!! The foil helped transmit the electromagnetic waves. Who would’ve thought that aluminum foil on the tips on the antenna would work!!!!!! He then used the pliers to change the channel. EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT.

For years to come, aluminum foil on antennas and pliers to change the channel became a mainstay in black households across America.

Today we salute Cyrus Rufus Johnson. Legend. Innovator. Pioneer.



Y’all though the shit was real huh!?!?!?!?!?!?

~ by alwaysfunkyfresh on February 20, 2007.

7 Responses to “Black History Month Moment”

  1. MLK wept.

    You ain’t right at all!

  2. You are a mess!! When I saw the name Cyrus, I knew something was off, lol

  3. Man, you had me reading all that!

    Yous a Fool…I am bigger one because I stayed and read!

  4. A Southside legend!
    LMAO! 🙂

  5. You’se a dayum fool Fresh. For real. LMAO!!

  6. Man your crazy..You had us sitting there reading that story like if it were true, but I tell you what who ever did create that innovative idea it sure worked for my mom and my sisters and brother when we were coming up. Man don’t let the pliers be missing from the television cause it would be an uproar.hahahahahahha. I like this story though.

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