Black History Facts shared on behalf of the Greensboro Jaycees

From Peanut butter (George Washington Carver), Potato Chips (George Speck), the folding chair (Nathaniel Alexander) and the COVID-19 Vaccine (Kizzmekia Corbett key scientist), we would like to encourage you to learn more about African-American contributions to science, engineering, technology, math, and everyday life.

Dr. Patricia Bath was the ,”first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology and the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent. She invented the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment in 1986.”   So the next time you or someone you know is at the optometrist, or has to have a cataract(s) removed, be sure to thank Black inventor Dr. Patricia Bath.

Garret A Morgan “Garrett Morgan blazed a trail for African American inventors with his patents, including those for a hair-straightening product, a breathing device, a revamped sewing machine and an improved traffic signal.” Garret Morgan also invented the Gas Mask, and improved the modern day stop light. So the next time you think of the fire department,  the U.S. military, and/or stop at a stop light be sure to thank Black inventor Garret A. Morgan for his invention

Marie Van Brittan Brown created an early version of the modern home security system more than a century later. Feeling unsafe…the full time nurse rigged a motorized camera to record her home entryway and project images onto a TV monitor.”  So the next time you purchase or use a home security device, be sure to thank Black inventor Marie Van Brittan Brown.

Thomas L. Jennings was “the first African-American U.S. patent recipient was working as a tailor and a businessman in New York City when he invented a process for dry-cleaning delicate clothing known as ‘dry-scouring.’ Thomas L. Jennings applied for a patent in 1820 and received his history-making approval the following year.”   So the next time you have something dry-cleaned, be sure to thank Black inventor Thomas L. Jennings.

Alexander Miles:  “Anyone who’s ridden modern elevators has Alexander Miles to thank for the stair alternative’s automatic doors. Prior to his design’s 1867 patent, riders had to manually open and close two sets of doors when entering and exiting elevator cars. Miles created a mechanism that forced both elevator doors to close simultaneously, thus preventing dangerous accidents” So the next time you take an elevator, be sure to thank Black inventor Alexander Miles.

Lewis Howard Latimer: “Lewis Howard Latimer was an inventor and draftsman best known for his contributions to the patenting of the light bulb and the telephone.” Born to parents who fled the horrors of being enslaved people, Latimer lied about his age to fight in the Civil war by enlisting in the U.S. Navy.  He would later invent the early air conditioning unit, improved the railroad car bathroom; and while working with Alexander Graham Bell to draft the patent for the telephone; as well as working with Hiram Maxim and Thomas Edison, to help invent incandescent lighting.  So the next time you turn on or off your lights,  pick up a telephone, turn on your air conditioning, or use the bathroom on a train, be sure to thank Black Inventor Lewis Howard Latimer.

To learn more about African-American inventors visit

Posted Under: News