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Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow

Barstow, California
African American/Black innovations

By Lance Cpl. Norman Eckles | Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow | February 18, 2014

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Garrett Morgan, African American innovator, invented the three-positioned traffic light to prevent car accidents in 1923.

Garrett Morgan, African American innovator, invented the three-positioned traffic light to prevent car accidents in 1923. (Photo by courtesy photo)


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Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif -- Since 1976, February has been dedicated to the achievements and contributions that African Americans have made … but everyone knows that; what impact have those had on society and where would we be without them?

Without some of the essential innovations African Americans have come up with and are still coming up with today, contemporary society would be a disaster.

Ask yourself this, what would a day in life be like if these men and women did not create such influential inventions?

Imagine waking up bright and early from a good night’s rest and going into your kitchen to make a healthy breakfast then realizing your food is rotten. Without the innovative idea of John Standard, the refrigerator wouldn’t be what it is today, and this scenario would often be the case.

In 1891, Standard improved the way refrigerators kept food colder longer by adding a compartment that held ice, which had to be manually put into the compartment.

After finding out your refrigerator wasn’t working, you decide to go to the store to buy more groceries. You put your child in the car seat and head for the store. On the way to the store, you get into a car accident because there are no traffic lights to let you know when to stop or go.

In 1923, a man by the name of Garrett Morgan received a patent for a three-positioned traffic light. He was motivated to create it after witnessing a car accident in order to save lives.

Now that you have gotten into a car accident, you have no car and have to walk from place to place. Being a parent, you don’t want to leave your child at home. But imagine having to carry your baby everywhere. You say, ‘I have a stroller’ … but without African American innovation, you don’t.

William H. Richardson improved and patented the baby buggy in 1889. He brought the idea form England and improved it so you can walk your child down the street without having to carry them the whole time.

After your walk, you decide to relax for a while; however, it’s a typical High Dessert summer day out. Without a certain inventor, you would be relaxing while drenched in sweat.

During World War II, an inventor named Fredrick McKinley designed and created air conditioners for military units out in the field to store blood serum for transfusions and medicines.

This very uncomfortable, dangerous and inconvenient day would be the case everyday if it weren’t for African American ingenuity. This is only to name a few, there are thousands of other inventions we use daily made from people who were once enslaved and thought to be incompetent by society.
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