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Black History Month Myth of the Day: The Traffic Light


This is a common one, now being taught in schools and even hustled on local news shows during February.

Myth: Garret A. Morgan, an African-American, invented the traffic light in 1923.

False! Over fifty people had already filed patents for traffic lights in the US before Morgan. The modern, three light, automated traffic lights were already in use in 1923. Morgan, a Mulatto, received a patent for a cross shaped, hand cranked traffic light. It was not automated, and received no commercial success nor contributed to the traffic lights we use today.

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