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.
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.