Luvvie’s Note: As you all know, Black History Month is more than half over. And I haven’t done my share of educating the masses about the history of us colored folks. Helping me out today is Scholar in Ratchetness, Brokey McPoverty. She’s the goofy behind the “Little Known Black History Facts” Tumblr. I asked Professor Brokey to bless my eCrib with some of her learnedness. And she did.
Nathaniel Alexander, born in Lynchburg, Virgina in 1911, invented and patented the folding chair. According to the history books, Mr. Alexander invented and patented the chair for use in churches and school and group gatherings, including a pocket/holder on the back for people to store their hymnals, school books, etc. This is what history tells us–but here’s the real story.
Nathaniel Alexander had bad nerves. Everybody in Lynchburg knew better than to get on that man’s bad side, resigning themselves to say nothing more than “good morning,” “good day,” and “good night” to him. Speak anything else, and you’d usually get smacked in the face with his favorite phrase: “man, sitcho black ass down!” The phrase soon caught on and fast became a black colloquialism throughout the nation–whenever someone is “doing too much” as we say these days, we often tell them to “sit the hell down” in an effort to get them to chill out a bit. But Nathaniel Alexander meant it, literally.
He was so serious about his request, in fact, that he invented the first ever folding chair. He was walking around Lynchburg with his creation strapped to his back on a spring day in 1925 when his neighbor, Bo Rangland, stopped him in the town square.
“Nice day we havin’ aint it?” Rangland said happily.
“Man shut the hell up!” Alexander snapped. “Does my face look like it wants to talk to you? Sitcho black ass down!” Here, Alexander stopped, unstrapped his chair, slammed it on its legs before him and unfolded it. “Right here. Sitcho black ass down right here!”
And that was its intended purpose. The storage compartment on the back of the chair? That was where he kept copies of his self written and published pamphlet “How to Shut the Hell Up and Sit the Hell Down,” which he gave to people to read as they sat in his chair.
Nathaniel Alexander: black history legend.
Brokey’s a GOOD mess, I say. But yeah, Nathaniel DID invent the folding chair for real. See HERE?
Category: Guest Blog