African American Innovators in Safety & Security

During the month of February in the United States, “Black History Month,” or “African-American History Month” is celebrated. The purpose of this celebration is to recognize and promote the achievements and impacts African Americans have had in the U.S., in addition to remembering important people and events. Black History month began in 1915  when historians Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded the ‘Association for the Study of the Negro Life and History’ and has been celebrated ever since. 

Many Americans are familiar with the prominent figures of the civil rights movement such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, and Frederick Douglass. However, few are aware of the African American innovators and entrepreneurs that left a lasting legacy on our society. Today, we highlight some of the forgotten figures in the safety & security industry:

Thomas Martin

Thomas Martin invention by kwema


Born a free man, Martin received a patent on March 26, 1872, for the first fire extinguishing suppressing apparatus, which later was remodeled as a portable extinguisher (

Marie Van Brittan Brown

Marie Van Brittan Brown invention by kwema


Brown developed a video monitoring system consisting of four peep-holes and a camera, which could be utilized to view the activity around her home. The system allowed her to view someone at her front door, hear their voice and was equipped with a button to notify police, if necessary. This invention would pave the way for the video security systems that homes and businesses use today (

Garrett A. Morgan

Garret A. Morgan safety by kwema


Morgan’s safety helmet was used by the allied forces in World War I and served as the prototype for the modern-day respirator. He also patented the directional traffic signal, later changed to three colors, which now directs traffic on most roads and highways around the world (

Black History Month and safety by Kwema


These individuals are just some of the few that made a real-world impact that continues to last into the modern day. It is important these figures are celebrated and the achievements of African Americans are not forgotten. As a black-owned business, Kwema is proud to contribute to this legacy of black entrepreneurship and innovation in the safety & security industry.

Learn more about our product and our mission here:


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