Born in March of 1877, Grarett Morgan was the seventh child of what would eventually become eleven children. After working in several sewing factories, Morgan designed an improved sewing machine and opened his own business. He also patented a “safety hood” that provided its users with a filter that could help against pollutants and toxic gasses. Eventually, that invention became the prototype for the gas masks used during World War 1, saving countless lives. He is probably most well known for inventing the traffic light in 1923, eventually selling the rights to General Electric.
In 1908 Garrett co-founded the Cleveland Association of Colored Men, which helped to support the black community in his hometown, and donated money to historically black colleges and universities.