Inventions reason to celebrate black history everyday

With Black History Month coming to an end, being mindful of the accomplishments of African-Americans goes far beyond the month of February, especially when several things were invented by black people that we tend to use everyday.

African American scientist, inventors and thinkers have provided incredible contributions to humanity, including American culture and societies around the world. Many of the inventions are used in everyday life, and some everyday things that were created by African American may be easily over looked. There are so many examples that date back to pre-slavery and most within the last 100 years.

A lot of technological inventions back then paved the way for some of the ways everyone has fun today, from childhood to adulthood. For example, Lonnie Johnson changed millions of childhoods when he invented the Super Soaker water gun. The Super Soaker, and other brand named water guns, still dominate water parks everywhere. For myself, and especially others born after the 1990s, it’s hard to imagine a childhood without playing a home-video gaming system at least once. For anyone who has ever owned a PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo, they can thank Gerald A. Lawson. Lawson created the first home-video system that used interchangeable cartridges. Lawson’s video games with compatible cartridges offered gamers the option to play a variety of games, and also the opportunity for video-game makers to earn profit by selling individual games, a business that still thrives today.

One everyday thing that is over looked day by virtually everyone is how we brighten up a room. Although Thomas Edison gets the credit for inventing the light bulb, Lewis Latimer perfected commercial lighting. Edison’s work on a light bulb model used a paper filament, and in Edison’s experiments he’d find the paper would burn down within 15 minutes. In 1881, Latimer was granted a patent for inventing a method of carbon filaments to create bulbs and made them longer lasting, more efficient and cheaper. Another common development that was created by a black inventor is the traffic light, invented by Garrett A. Morgan.

After witnessing a collision between an automobile and a horse-drawn carriage, Morgan developed a hand crafted, T-shape traffic management device unit that featured three positions: stop, go and an all-directional stop position. Morgan’s traffic device was used throughout most of North America until replaced by the automatic red, yellow and green signal now used around the world.

Black pioneers have contributed to many different fields including cosmetics, mechanical works, consumer goods and technology. Thanks to many African-American innovators and inventors, lives have been made easier and lanes have been created for future generations.