Potato chips were invented by a black man. In 1853 a restaurant customer sent his French fries back to the kitchen because they were too thick. The chef George Crum cut a bunch of potatoes as thin as he could. He fried them crisp in anger and voila, the potato chip was born!
Sarah Boone was an African-American inventor who was awarded a patent for the ironing board.Born in the Deep South—in Summit, Pike County, Mississippi—in the 1860s or 1870s, Sarah Boone made her name by inventing the ironing board. Boone was a rarity during her time, a female African-American inventor. In her patent application, she wrote that the purpose of her invention was “to produce a cheap, simple, convenient and highly effective device, particularly adapted to be used in ironing the sleeves and bodies of ladies’ garments.” Prior to that time, most people ironed using a board of wood rested across a pair of chairs or tables. She was living in New Haven, Connecticut, when her patent was granted in 1892. She died in 1900.
On April 19, 1866, the African American citizens of Washington D.C. celebrated the abolition of slavery. 4,000 to 5,000 people assembled to the White House addressed by Andrew Johnson. Led by two black regiments, the spectators and the procession proceeded up the Pennsylvania Avenue to Franklin Square for religious services and speeches by prominent politicians. The sign on top of the platform read: “We have received our civil rights. Give us the right of suffrage and the work is done.”
A black man from Newark, New Jersey, by the name of Charles B. Brooks, invented the U.S.’ first self-propelled street sweeper truck and patented it on March 17, 1896.
Historically, prior to Brooks’ truck, streets were commonly cleaned by walking workers, picking up by hand or broom, or by horse-drawn machines. Brooks’ truck had brushes attached to the front fender that pushed trash to the curb.