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
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.