Wednesday, February 15, 2006

KeShawn on Augustus Jackson

KeShawn: Augustus Jackson is the person I want noted for African-American history. There's a lot of different angles on his story. He worked at the White House. Some call him a "cook" and some call him a "chef." Dolly Madison is said to have served his strawberry ice cream to White House guests.

He did not "invent" ice cream. But after he left the White House, he did devise recipes for it that resulted in it being more widely distributed and availabe.

What he did was devise a series of recipes for it and figured out a better way to mix it that would allow for it transport more easily.

I was in third grade when we learned about Augustus Jackson and I might not remember that day so well now if it weren't for the fact that I love ice cream and that our teacher, Miss Paige, gave us all ice cream that day.

So I thought this would be pretty easy to pull some stuff on him. First thing I noticed is that he's called a chef or a cook depending upon who is writing. Second thing I noticed is that a lot of people need to proof their online work. He moved to Philadelphia in the 1830s but some mentions of him give his birth year as 1890. Another thing I noticed online was "People been talking about my booty." Did Augustus Jackson say that?

No a topless woman, sticking her rear at the camera, did. What that has to do with Augustus Jackson, I do not know, but there they are sharing a webpage. A trip to the downtown library didn't furnish any further knowledge. If there's more to be found on him, it's buried deep. That's true of a lot of Black History which is why there's a need for Black History Month.

Maybe someone will read this and remember Augustus Jackson because they like ice cream or because of that woman's comment about her rear. But hopefully, you'll take a moment to think about him. At first I was shocked by the photo being on the webpage and then I thought, "Well they wouldn't have done that in the 1830s so old Augustus carried over to modern times."

We searched at the libary, in their computer systems that lets them books on loans from other libraries, and we couldn't find any book on him. After a period of time, we all get reduced. Some of us may be a book or just an obituary, especially if you are a minority. So I like to see it as a testament to his accomplishments and the accomplishments of scholars that at least we know a little about Augustus Jackson.

When you think about how popular ice cream still is today and realize that he had a great deal to do with figuring out how to produce it so that it would travel better, we owe him something. Hopefully, someday he will be the subject of a book that's available in all our libraries.