Black Inventors

Angelina Andrade, Copy Editor

Many great inventors are lost in history every day. And in honor of Black History month, here are some amazing black engineers and inventors people have to thank for things like long-lasting light bulbs to water guns. 


Marie Van Brittan Brown


Brown is responsible for inventing the first home security system in 1966. The modern equivalent would be a Ring camera. 


She had felt unsafe in her home in Queens, New York, while her husband was away and was unable to rely on the police so she came up with a solution herself.  


The system she had made included a monitor where she was able to see who was at her front door, a microphone to speak to someone at the door, and two buttons, one to unlock the door and the other that would contact the police for her.


Lewis Latimer


Before Latimer, people were limited in their use of light. His solution was to create something that didn’t shut off, so because of him there are now long-lasting light bulbs. 


When anyone ever thinks about the inventor of the light bulb, all anyone can think of is Thomas Edison. His version wasn’t the best it could be and held much-untapped potential. 


Raised by two formerly enslaved people, he began his improvements after surviving on the side of the Union during the Civil War. In 1881, he patented the long-lasting light bulb that was made of a carbon filament.


Garrett Morgan


Morgan is credited with inventing many significant things. He helped improve sewing machines as well as invent gas masks. Morgan’s most helpful improvement, one that everyone sees on a day-to-day basis, was the convection of the three-light traffic light system.  


Thanks to Morgan, there now is the yellow light, signifying cars to yield. Before that, there had only been green and red lights in traffic lights. 


In the 1920s, Morgan was the son of an enslaved parent and had only an elementary school education. However, despite these challenges, he was able to help our society as a whole. 


Lonnie Johnson 


Johnson had been working at NASA in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. No one knew that the contraption he made in his free time would become a significant toy for many young children. He is reasonable for the creation of water guns that would later be named the Super Soaker, which would be sold to the public in 1990.


Lisa Gelobter 


Gelobter is also a newer genius as she is a software engineer who helped create Shockwave and is a CEO and Co-founder of tEQuitable, a company that helps companies establish a “safe, inclusive and equitable workplace”. She is someone who made it possible for web animation to existing. Gelobter also helped debut the streaming service Hulu. 


This is only a short list of some influential black inventors and their creative minds. There are plenty more that deserve appreciation and praise. It’s often people forget to appreciate what they have and who it took to make it. That’s why it’s important to take a step back and look into history.