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Black History Moment: Pre-K Students Learn and Celebrate Garrett Augustus Morgan

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It’s BLACK HISTORY MONTH, so it only felt right to have my students learn each day about African American inventors and a myriad of other individuals who have brought forth change and have helped shaped African-American communities around the world.

This week we discussed a man named Garrett A. Morgan. He is one of the country’s most successful African-American inventors-creating two, the gas mask and the traffic signal.

Garrett A. Morgan was born in the late 19th century to former slaves. With only a sixth-grade level of education he was very fortunate to have an innate mechanical mind that enabled him to solve problems. And, unlike most other inventors, he also was a skilled entrepreneur. His motive for the traffic signal – was 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.

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If you’re like me, you usually avoid the yellow light if there are no police officers around. Yellow just means SPEED UP! But of course I was sure to omit that tid bit of information out while informing my students of the wonderful invention created by one of our own.

Instead they learned a poem that goes a little something like this:

RED means stop. GREEN means go. YELLOW means wait even if you’re late.

To learn more about Garrett Morgan and his inventions, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/gama/gamlife.htm.

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