Gas Masks and Yellow Lights (Garrett Morgan)

From Paris, Kentucky, I emerged into this world
At a young age, I was on the clock a ton as a handyman and working all the time fixing
Sewing machines
I had no time for school, so tutors and autodidactic endeavors happened
What I didn’t know back then is that I would save lives

It all started from a tunnel that was ablaze
The men in red couldn’t beat the smoke
I watched them struggle and die from the carbon monoxide
It was time to fix this with a hood and breathing apparatus
I tested the smoke myself, and I still breathed
First responders and WWI soldiers both benefited from my creation
Shame no one believed someone with melanin invented it

Next came witnessing car crash after car crash
Scrap metal and mangled bodies were all I could see
All the signs said were “stop” and “go” manually
Give me the yellow light, I know what to do
The green and red were illuminated, but that had to be an in-between
How come no one else thought of this cautionary sign?
I made traffic signals with three lights and electric
Making warnings and curbing accidents
Shame no one believed someone like me invented it

Much like other innovators, I was taken for granted long after I was laid to rest in Cleveland.

I hope others know who I am.

6 thoughts on “Gas Masks and Yellow Lights (Garrett Morgan)

  1. Yes, I knew that Black people had invented these things, but this is NOT widely known because of who writes the history books. If whites have anything to say about everything, and they do, no one discovered anything besides them. Many Black people invented many of the things that are necessary and the whites took credit for it. They are still at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been on a huge research kick when it comes to inventors and innovators in multiple fields. Most of the names that keep popping up are Black and Garrett Morgan was certainly one of them. I was inspired by so many of these stories, but at the same time I was frustrated because I wasn’t taught about them. I don’t know about you, but the only Black inventors I heard about during my youth were George Washington Carver and Lonnie Johnson (creator of the Super Soaker), and the only reason why I knew that about the latter was because of an episode of The Proud Family of all things. In America, it used to be illegal for decades for Black people to get patents, so during slavery a bunch of the slave owners would get the credit for something their slaves made which is a blight on history among other things. It’s facts like these that make me even MORE staunch on my desire for originality, innovation, or at the very least people giving credit where credit is due. I’ve felt more educated recently and I want to make more poems and recording based on these unknown innovators. The history books may have neglected them and so many others, but I won’t.

      Liked by 1 person

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