By Ka’Tavia West
February is known as Black History Month.
Most usually take this time to celebrate those that are most talked about, such as Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks, but what about those who helped advance everyday life?
The inventors behind many devices that make our everyday lives easier are African American, from the traffic light to the clothes dryer.
Garrett Morgan invented the three-position traffic signal in 1923.
Morgan, with only an elementary school education, came up with many significant inventions; among those being a superior sewing machine and what would become the gas masks in WWI.
The three-position traffic light is arguably his most influential invention.
After patenting the design, this was the beginning of what would be adapted by the world, and something we take for granted.
Without them, city roads would be a scary place to drive on.
Another invention by an African American inventor helps ease our minds: the home security system.
Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the home securty system in 1966, a nurse who lived in Queens, New York and who spent many nights alone.
Her husband, an electric technician, drew up the foundation, and Marie constructed the early forms of a security system.
Her blueprint is what helps keep many homes safe and allows those in them to sleep with ease.
During times when black people were not treated kindly, or even as human beings, we still managed to change the way many lived through our contributions.
Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner is the inventor of the toilet tissue holder.
The tissue holder helped to keep the free end of the toilet paper roll easily in reach.
She invented it because she was disabled, having been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the 1970s.
Kenner turned her hardship into something she did not have to be ashamed of and, in turn, created something that everyone continues to benefit from.
As did George T. Sampson when he invented the America’s first automatic clothes dryer in 1892.
As you celebrate Black History Month, remember those who have helped make your everyday lives a bit easier.