Garrett A. Morgan was born on March 4, 1877, in Paris, Kentucky,
to former slaves Sydney Morgan and Elizabeth (Reed) Morgan. The
seventh of eleven children, he spent his childhood attending school
and working with his brothers and sisters on the family farm.
Garrett was an African American inventor who originated a
respiratory protective hood (similar to the modern gas masks),
invented a hair-straightening preparation, and patented a type of
traffic signal, which then he sold the rights to his traffic signal
to the General Electric Corporation for $40,000. He is renowned for
a heroic rescue in which he used his hood to save workers trapped
in a tunnel system filled with fumes. He is credited as the first
African-American to own an automobile.