Imagine a life without potato chips, the traffic signal, elevators, and many other things that have become a part of people’s everyday life. African Americans have invented and improved so many of these important things. It’s never a bad thing to look back on and think about the items you have and the history behind them. In celebration of Black History Month, here are some things that wouldn’t exist or be what they are now without African Americans.  

Garrett Morgan was an astonishing man who invented and improved many items that the world would be very different without. One of his most prominent inventions is a respiratory device that later helped develop the blueprint for the gas mask. Other notable inventions and improvements include a hair-straightening product, the traffic signal, and the sewing machine. Morgan definitely paved the way for other black inventors and has had a huge impact on the safety of people fighting in wars, and others as well.

Potato chips have been a favorite snack of people around the world for a long time. They’re sold and consumed everywhere, and we have an African American man to thank for that.  In 1853, George Crum was working as a chef in a restaurant in New York. Dissatisfied with a customer’s complaint about how his fries were made, Crum cut the potatoes into super thin slices, fried them to an almost burnt crisp, and added a generous amount of salt. To his surprise, the customer actually enjoyed the creation. When Crum opened his own restaurant a few years later, every table received a bowl of them. The next time you eat a chip, remember Crum and how one person’s criticism led to the invention of a beloved snack.

When you think of inventions such as the lightbulb and the telegraph, you think of Thomas Edison, or maybe even Alexander Graham Bell. One person you probably haven’t heard of though, is Lewis Latimer. He is just as memorable as these other men and worked alongside theme as well. He helped Edison with the invention of the light bulb and the telegraph, and came up with improvements for the light bulb. Although his work isn’t very well known, it was very prominent and should not be forgotten.

Madam C.J. Walker was a brilliant woman that is an example to all that there are no limits to what you can do. Walker created a line of hair care products, mainly for African Americans, that changed the world of beauty and hair. To promote her products, she even traveled the United States to get the word out about them. She went on to become the first American woman to become a self made millionaire.

Alexander Miles is another great inventor that improved elevators drastically. Before him, elevator doors had to be manually opened and closed. Without his improvements, people would fall down elevator shafts while trying to get on. The mechanism he invented made elevator rides safer by triggering the doors to open and close. Elevators aren’t as dangerous as they were when first invented, and we have Miles to thank for that.

Even through times of hardship and mistreatment, these people used their great minds to change the world for the better. These African American inventors are inspirational and are names that should not be forgotten.