Technological innovation by a minority -
About two years ago, I was looking into buying a new bicycle. My current bicycle was a beat up beach cruiser, and I really wanted a new mountain bike. So, I went down to the bookstore and bought an issue of a mountain biking magazine. In it, I found an article about Billie Joe Becoat and his new invention, the 'two wheel drive' bicycle. They touted it as the first major bike innovation in 70 years. After reading that piece, I thought it was a great idea (I also wondered why I hadn't thought of it!). Unfortunately, I have not heard anything about Becoat's creation since I read that article. However, as I was researching, trying to find out a good topic for this paper, I happened to run into an article out of Ebony Magazine that describes Becoat's invention, how he developed it, and the struggles that came along the way.
My problem of finding a topic was solved, and I had a lot of fun learning more about how to make a bicycle a 'two by two'.
Bill Becoat, an African-American, is now 58 years old, and lives in Alton, Illinois. He grew up in Centralia, Illinois, the youngest of six children. As he was growing up, he was encouraged by his parents to read and stay in school. He took a liking to many professions once he graduated form high school. In 1959, he moved to Saint Louis, Missouri and worked as an apprentice mechanic at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft, where he worked for only two years before moving to Alton to go to college at Southern Illinois University. In college, he became a Blues singer, and released an album that got on the Billboard charts. Once he graduated, he got...