Black History Month: Garrett Morgan

Madie Miller

By Madie Miller

Former slave and inventor of the gas mask, traffic signal and a hair straightening preparation, Garrett Augustus Morgan was an African American inventor and community leader. He lived from March 4 of 1877- July 27 of 1963.

The first shop Morgan owned was a shoe repair and sewing shop. A few years later, in 1909 Morgan and family opened up a shop called Morgan’s Cut Rate Ladies Clothing Store. He established a thriving business with steady employees. He launched the G. A. Morgan Hair Refining Company, which sold hair care products, including a hair straightening cream, a hair dye, and a hair straightening comb, all of which he invented.

In 1961 Morgan and three others used his safety hood device to save workers trapped in an intake tunnel. In addition, Morgan is credited as the first African American to own an automobile in Cleveland, Ohio.

He developed glaucoma in 1963 and was functionally blind before passing away of poor health.

All images used legally by AP images.