Black history is usually associated with the month of February, noticeably the shortest month in the year. But in reality, black history is with each one of us all year long. How, you ask? Well everyday we use certain inventions or products that were created by African Americans in history, from peanut butter to traffic signals. (To learn more about the origin of Black History, click here.) Let’s go on a little journey…Black History 365.
Living in the city, traffic can be a nightmare. But imagine what traffic would be like without a traffic signal. Nevermind, let’s not imagine it. Thanks to Garrett Morgan, we have the traffic signal which he invented and had patented on November 20, 1923. Garrett can also be accredited with inventing gas mask. The gas mask was initially used for miners but Garrett was asked to produce them for the US Army as well.
It’s a Wednesday morning, you wake up for your big interview but you forgot that you didn’t iron your suit. Crap. No worries, you can grab the iron and thanks to Sarah Boone, an African American inventor, you have an improved iron boarding too. In 1887, Boone was noted for her major improvements to the ironing board.
There is nothing worse than being extremely cold in the winter. Thanks to Alice Parker, inventor of the heating furnace, we don’t have to worry about a thing! Parker invented the gas heating furnace in 1919. Because of Alice Parker’s heating inventions, billions of people have been kept warm.
Have you ever been on the verge of a bad hair day but thanks to a handy brush, your day was saved? Yes, me too. Thanks to Lydia O. Newman, an African American woman, the brush was invented in 1898. The purpose of the comb was to lift and separate hair.
The American Red Cross hosts thousands of blood drives and millions of people donate blood every year. That is a LARGE amount of blood, where is it stored? Thanks to Charles Drew, African-American physician, surgeon and medical researcher, blood banks were developed. Because of Drew’s development, thousands of soldiers were saved during World War II. Drew became the first African American surgeon elected as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.
From children to adults, peanut butter jelly sandwiches are a classic lunch or snack. We have George Washington Carver to thank for peanut butter. Carver was an African American American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor most notably known for his work with crops such as peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes. In 1914, Time magazine proclaimed George Washington Caver as the “Black Leonardo.”
There are many more African American inventors throughout history that have some kind of impact on our daily lives. Although it’s February, as shown with the few inventions above, black history is much greater than a month, it’s all year long!