Black Businesses Matter. America Would Not Be Great Without Them

Black business entrepreneurs — permission

America wouldn’t be great without black businesses

  • Traffic light — In 1923, black inventor, Garrett Morgan (son of a slave) invented the three-light traffic system. Before that, traffic was governed by only two lights and manually operated to show “stop” and “go.” Morgan observed many accidents caused because there was no time for traffic to stop or slow down between the flashing of stop and go signals. He devised a system that added a yellow light to show caution and signal to slow down before the light changed from “go” to “stop.” This drastically cut down on the accidents, injuries, and deaths due to traffic moving into the lanes without a warning. He ultimately sold his invention to General Electric for $40,000. Today, traffic control is based on this design and has saved thousands of lives. Without it, society may never have enjoyed the safety feature and control that countries around the world now take for granted. Garrett Morgan also invented the gas mask which has saved thousands of lives of first responder firefighters and battlefield soldiers. Thousands of lives that otherwise would have been lost.“Black businesses matter.”
  • Automated Elevator Doors — In 1887, black businessman, Alexander Miles invented automatic elevator doors. Before automatic doors, people had to manually shut both the shaft and elevator doors before riding. Forgetting to do so led to multiple accidents as people fell down elevator shafts. After his daughter fell down an elevator shaft, he took it upon himself to develop a solution. He created a mechanism that automatically opens and closes elevator shaft doors and his designs are largely reflected in elevators used today. “Black businesses matter.”
  • Lightbulb life span and use — The light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison, but the innovation used to create longer-lasting light bulbs with carbon filament came from African-American inventor Lewis Latimer. The son of a runaway slave, Latimer began work in a patent law firm after serving in the military for the Union Army during the Civil War. He was recognized for his talent drafting patents and was promoted to head draftsman. Later he worked for U.S. Electric Lighting Company, a competitor of Edison’s lighting company. There he patented a new filament for the light bulb, using carbon instead of more incendiary materials, like bamboo, that was commonly used for filaments. The addition of the carbon filament increased the life span and practicality of light bulbs, which had previously lasted just a few days before having to be changed. Lightbulbs now last for months and years based on the foundation of this invention. In 1884, he went on to work with Edison at the Edison Electric Light Company. “Black businesses matter.”
  • Refrigerated trucks — If your refrigerator has any product from your local grocery store, then you can thank black inventor, Frederick McKinley Jones. Jones created more than 60 patents throughout his life, including a patent for the roof-mounted cooling system that’s used to refrigerate goods on trucks during extended transportation across the country. He co-founded the U.S. Thermo Control Company, later known as Thermo King. His invention was critical during World War II, helping to preserve blood, food, and supplies during the war and helped save thousands of lives. His refrigeration system is now used worldwide.
Thermo King Refrigerated Truck — Wikipedia Common Use

Black businesses contribute billions of dollars to America’s economy

Why you should care about black businesses

What you can do

Do what you can to help turn things around. It can be done.




Business attorney, entrepreneur, content marketer, and published author. I help you communicate your marketing message and generate sales.

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Roy Landers

Roy Landers

Business attorney, entrepreneur, content marketer, and published author. I help you communicate your marketing message and generate sales.

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