St. Paul woman creates comic strip spotlighting black inventors

An elementary school employee by day, a St. Paul woman creates comics in her spare time. These aren’t your typical comic books. Superheroes are black inventors who have had an impact on American history.

Mercedes Yarbrough is an Intervention Specialist at Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion Academy in St. Paul. In a room full of third graders, she is ahead of the class.

Yarbrough tells the students, “I believe we all have superpowers.” One of her strengths is finding ways to connect with children. “

The things that I think schools should teach, I will create them myself,” Yarbrough says.

Black To The Future, comic created by Mercedes Yarbrough of St. Paul, Minn.

Yarbrough created a comic called “Black to the Future”. It’s a new twist on a classic film.

“So the cover has black inventors, so it was Alexander Miles, he innovated the elevator. Dr. Patricia Bath, she was the one who created laser cataract surgery,” Yarbrough explains. The superheroes in this comic are black inventors who have marked American history. A mother of four, Yarbrough says it’s about making learning fun and empowering students of color.

“Why do you want to be in school to learn that your people are oppressed? It’s 2022, yes, that’s history, but we also invented and helped build this country and created things that are used every day,” says Yarbrough.

Yarbrough turns comics into a program. And provide students with a new outlet to learn. “It’s just about teaching these kids and empowering them to know that we have superpowers, and we can make a difference and change the world, but we have to have the vision to do it, and I want to help these kids unlock these superpowers,” Yabrough says.

Yarbrough says she hopes her program reaches students in more classrooms. For more information on his work, click on the link below.

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