Osbourn Dorsey was a freed slave who invented both the doorknob and the doorstop in 1878. He obtained a patent for his invention in the same year. Before Dorsey, people commonly closed doors using latches or leather straps as handles.
Alexander Miles changed how we navigate buildings forever by creating the automatic opening and closing elevator in 1887. His automatic opening and closing shaft door design is now standard practice in elevators.
Lyda Newman is widely known for her revolutionary hairbrush design. Newman made a hairbrush specifically for Black hair using synthetic bristles instead of animal hair. These new bristles were firmer and didn’t break as easily when used on Black hair. This design is cheaper and easier to manufacture and now standard practice in our modern day.
Garrett Morgan took tragedy as a creative inspiration to use technology for good. Morgan witnessed a horrific accident at a Cleveland intersection. This experience led to him creating the first traffic control device in 1922 which we now know as traffic lights.
Black people have always been at the forefront of innovation within the United States and these Black inventors are proof of the technological genius that exists in our community. The next generation of inventors will create in the same legacy of innovation that our influential ancestors have before.