Tag Archives: Elijah McCoy

Remembering Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month I thought it would be fun and interesting to talk about some famous African American entrepreneurs over the next few weeks.

Paying homage to those who paved the way for those today..

Madam CJ Walker (1867-1919): Founder of the “hair-growing” business. She got her start trying to cure hair loss and turned into a self declared hair culturist creating Madame CJ Walker Manufacturing Company complete with sales and marketing departments. She even opened a college to teach others her craft. Her products were hair treatments and lotions. She inspired the first permanent wave machine and fun fact: Was the first self-made female millionaire in America! Not just first African-American millionaire, but FEMALE millionaire. Yeah, look out Oprah!

Elijah McCoy (1844-1929): Child of former slaves who escaped on the underground railroad, he was issued more than 57 patents in his lifetime. After an apprenticeship he began working as a train fireman and oiler. He create a lubricating system for steam engines to prevent them from overheating without requiring the train to stop. Fun fact: Other manufacturers tried to copy, but, their product was never as good, so people would say, “I want the Real McCoy” which is where the STILL USED statement comes from. Lol Um DOPE! #History

Garrett Morgan (1877-1963): I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this dude is one of the most interesting inventors and entrepreneurs I’ve read about because of the importance and lasting impact of his creations. He created multiple inventions and was a very successful businessman. But, two of his inventions were: the Gas Mask and Traffic Lights. His original gas mask was called a safety hood. He was able to save a number of lives after a tunnel explosion almost killed a number of water works workers. After running into some issues from people who didn’t want to buy from a black man. The US Army used his gas mask during WWI when poisonous gases were heavily used.

After witnessing a bad traffic accident and seeing the need to have a back up or replacement for policemen or traffic workers directing traffic he created the first traffic signal. This was sold to General Electric for $40,000 and was the original model for the traffic lights we use today. WHAT?! … I mean.. WHAT?!

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Today I wanted to start by showcasing some amazing people we either have never heard of or can easily get lost over time. There are so many amazing African American entrepreneurs and inventors modern day that I want to talk about too – but, special notice needs to be made to these 3 (of many, many others!)

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