Black History Month Spotlight: Garrett A. Morgan

I told myself I would write about some unsung heroes. This month is Black History Month a month when heroes of America known, and unknown, are remembered for their amazing contribution to the world we live in. Although black history should be celebrated all year round, this month is still important and it is an amazing opportunity to learn about new heroes. I want to give a shout out to this thread

Garrett A. Morgan

 

Many of the world’s most famous inventors only produced one major invention that garnered recognition and cemented their prominent status. But Garret Augustus Morgan, one of the country’s most successful African-American inventors, created two – the gas mask and the traffic signal.

Born in the last quarter of the nineteenth century to former slaves, Garrett A. Morgan was only formally educated to a sixth-grade level. Fortunately, like many great inventors, Morgan had an innate mechanical mind that enabled him to solve problems. And, unlike most other inventors, he also was a skilled entrepreneur.

After moving to Cleveland, Ohio, at the age of 18, Garrett Morgan’s business sense and strong work ethic led him to almost immediate success. He invented and patented the first chemical hair straightener, started his own sewing equipment repair business, and even established a newspaper – the Cleveland Call.

But Morgan’s most prolific accomplishments came in his role as an inventor. He received a patent for the first gas mask invention in 1914, but it wasn’t until two years later that the idea really took off. When a group of workers got stuck in a tunnel below Lake Erie after an explosion, Morgan and a team of men donned the masks to help get them out. After the rescue was a success, requests for the masks began pouring in.

Similarly, Garrett Morgan’s other famous invention – the traffic signal – was also invented to help save lives. After witnessing an accident on a roadway, Morgan decided a device was needed to keep cars, buggies and pedestrians from colliding. His traffic signal was designed to stand on a street corner and notify vehicles and walkers whether they should stop or go. After receiving a patent in 1923, the rights to the invention were eventually purchased by General Electric.

So next time you are waiting at the traffic light thank God for Morgan.

The facts about Morgan came from black-inventor.

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3 Comments

  1. Well everyone benefits from this gifted inventor. But you never read about this in school. Textbooks will not teach the truth about black contributions. Read Abagonds blog about high school history text books. It’s title what they didn’t teach you in school about anti racism.

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