In Honoring Black History Month: Garrett Morgan

Posted on : February 13, 2017

The son of former slaves, Garrett Morgan was born in Paris, Kentucky, his early childhood was spent attending school and working on the family farm. In 1895, Morgan moved to Cleveland, where he went to work as a sewing machine repairman for a clothing manufacturer; he opened his own shop in 1907. The company turned out coats, suits, and dresses, all sewn with equipment that Morgan himself had made. In 1920, Morgan moved into the newspaper business establishing the Cleveland Call.

His curiosity and innovation led to the development of many useful and helpful products. Among his inventions was an early traffic signal. After witnessing a collision between an automobile and a horse-drawn carriage, Morgan was convinced that something should be done to improve traffic safety. Morgan was one of the first to apply for and acquire a U.S. patent for a traffic signal. The patent was granted on November 20, 1923. Morgan later had the technology patented in Great Britain and Canada.

Many young people are not aware of the sacrifices and struggles that those before them have made to be where we are today. We can’t take these accomplishments as an end point. However, we should use this opportunity to reach even greater heights. It’s easy to take the rights we have for granted, but we have to remember the determination that earlier generations showed. As the world continues to diversify with groups of many different origins, cultures and creeds, it is as important as ever to celebrate the histories that make up our nation; and here at 411-Pain, we reflect and celebrate the monumental contributions and use them as a platform for future growth.

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