“BECAUSE OF THEM, I CAN. BECAUSE OF ME, I WILL”—Kwame J.T, Ismail observing the Eunique Jones Gibson’s Black History Month 2013 photo campaign.
In Case You Didn't Know: Day 1
Today marks the first day of Black History Month. While I whole-heartedly agree with McDonald’s that …”African American culture should be celebrated 365 days a year—not just during Black History Month…” that’s no excuse not to highlight the accomplishments, creations, and advances that black people have contributed, especially to the United States. So everyday, for the duration of February, I will feature a famous, or not so famous black person and his or her gift to the world.
Garrett Morgan (1877–1963): Creator of the First Traffic Signal & Innovator of the Gas Mask
Garrett Morgan, a son of slaves, was born in Kentucky and grew up in both Cincinatti & Cleveland, Ohio. Despite not having a formal education, Morgan continued his education with the help of a tutor. By 1907, he opened his own sewing equipment and repair shop that expanded to a tailoring shop in 1909. A man of many trades, Morgan founded the “Cleveland Call”, a local Cleveland newspaper in 1920.
Morgan received a patent for traffic signal in 1923. He used his gas mask to rescue 32 men trapped underground, 250 feet beneath Lake Erie but was denied a medal for his act of heroism due to the color of his skin.
After living an industrious and prolific life, Garrett Morgan passed away at the age of 86 in 1963.
(Credit due to About.com, Wikipedia.com, & Google.com for biographical info/photo; original summary by RLA.)