Words by Shurida Lundi

There are a number of African-American geniuses who are not acknowledged for the many inventions they have created. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to complete daily activities or save lives or write. This Black History Month, we are recognizing five inventors that you may not know about and what they created.

1. Alexander Miles 

Born May 18, 1938, Miles was awarded a patent for an automatically opening and closing elevator on October 11, 1887.


2. Lewis Howard Latimer 

A part of Thomas Edison’s research team called “Edison’s Pioneers”, Latimer was responsible for creating a carbon filament. The filament improved the incandescent light bulb and was patented in 1881.

3. John Lee Love

Living in Fall River, Massachusetts, Love was not only an inventor, but he was a carpenter. He is best known for his creation of the portable pencil sharpener that he patented in 1897.

4. Charles B. Brooks

Hailing from Newark, New Jersey, Brooks invented the U.S.’ first self-propelled sweeper truck. Before him, men would manually walk down the streets picking up trash by hand or broom, or by horse-drawn machines.

5. Joseph W. Winters

Lived to see the age of 100, an African-American abolitionist and inventor received a patent for a wagon-mounted fire escape ladder in 1878. His innovation was used by the Pennsylvania fire department.

Without these inventors, who knows where we would be. Our black history is too iconic and rich to be contained in one month.