POMARIA — A lesson for schoolchildren has turned into a book about black inventors dating back to the early 1800s.
Angela Tobe Rollerson used to teach at Sunlight Heritage Academy in Columbia and decided she wanted to write and self-publish a book about black inventors and other important Black men and women who made a mark in history.
“I put it into a kid friendly format for anyone to read and learn about,” said Rollerson, who finished October 2012.
“It’s educational, entertaining and humorous. There’s a brother and sister interaction in learning about the famous African-Americans. It makes the average child want to read and it’s an easy read,” said Rollerson.
The book is titled “A Trip Back in Time: A Black History Moment” and in the preface, Rollerson writes: “I began my research years ago in regards to the contributions of African-Americans and was amazed at how much was invented or improved by them. My objective was to gather information that could be used in elementary, middle, and high school curriculum in every state. After years of research, I have combined my research and placed them in this book.”
The story begins with the story about Nicole and her brother Billy who learn about the impact of black inventors or innovators.
Rollerson would love for teachers to use the book in the classrooms. In the back of the book, she includes tests and facts that are useful for Black History Month, which is celebrated during February.
“I think Black History Month is for everybody to understand African-Americans. If you are unsure, you can ask and we’ll tell you. In order to move forward, you have to know where you came from,” said Rollerson.
The Pomaria native now lives in Columbia and has committed her job to writing. She’s working on a second book — an autobiography about a black Vietnam veteran who lives in Pomaria. She discovered the veteran through Fellowship Baptist Church in Newberry.
Rollerson also will have a second part to the black history book in which she will continue with the story of the brother and sister. A book on tape is in the works as well, she said.
“There will be music in the background — uptempo, instrumental pop beats. It will be finished in two weeks, hopefully,” said Rollerson.
Rollerson is traveling and talking about the book. She will speak at Pomaria-Garmany Elementary and Bethlehem Baptist next month to discuss the book. She’s held a couple of book signings already and will be at the Martin Luther King Jr. event in Newberry on Monday.
Rollerson has plenty of people to thank, from family members to her manager. Yet, there is a specific person who had an impact on her life: Rollerson’s grandmother, Viola Crooks-Tobe, is her “favorite person” from among the many black inventors and innovators.
“She raised me from two weeks to 12 years,” said Rollerson. “This book is dedicated to her. When she got me, she was 88 years old and I was two weeks. To be that age and take a baby takes a strong woman. She raised me and my two brothers and taught me to cook at age 5. She had me doing dishes, cooking and (doing) laundry.”
In fact, Rollerson writes in the dedication: “To my grandmother, Viola Crooks-Tobe, the backbone from which I stand. The day you passed away you took a huge part of me with you. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be alive today. Thanks for giving me life. I love you and miss you very much.”
Rollerson’s current book can be bought by contacting her at 463-9512. She is working on a website she hopes to have finished this month.