African American Women Inventors

African American women inventors have experienced racism and gender discrimination. Despite the discrimination that these intelligent women have suffered from, they were able to excel in their field as some of the greatest African American women inve

Sarah Goode

One of the well-known African American women inventors is Sarah Goode. She was actually the first African American female inventor who was granted a patent for her invention of the folding cabinet bed. This invention was inspired by apartments in the city with small bed spaces. Since she was a furniture shop owner, she thought of a bed design that is both functional and could save space.

Sarah Goode was born in 1850 when slavery was still at its peak. Freedom was given to them when the American Civil War ended. So, she went to Chicago and started her own furniture business. Today, Goode’s invention is known as the hide-away bed or folding bed. Goode paved the way for other African Americans, men and women alike, to strive harder in order to achieve success.

Miriam Benjamin

Another inventor who also received a U.S. patent is Miriam Benjamin. Her invention is now used in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was actually the second African American woman inventor to be granted a patent for her invention. Miriam Benjamin was a school teacher in Washington D.C. She invented what she called the Gong and Signal Chair for hotels. Her invention was designed for hotels where customers could just press the button attached to the chair to summon waiters. A buzzing sound is produced when the button is pressed.
Among the many African American women inventors, not much is known about Miriam Benjamin aside from her invention. Public records did not show her birth date, birth place nor details of her death. Nevertheless, the African American community is surely proud to have one of the famous inventors amongst them.

Madame C.J. Walker

Probably the most famous and the greatest among the many African American women inventors is Madame C.J. Walker.  She was born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 in Delta, Louisiana. She was a successful entrepreneur, inventor, businesswoman as well as a philanthropist. Madame C.J. Walker developed and marketed her own line of hair and beauty products. With dedication and hard work, Madame C.J. was able to achieve tremendous success by selling her own line of hair and beauty products. In fact, she was the first African American who became a millionaire.

This self-made millionaire inspired women and taught them how to put up and manage their own business. She donated some of her money to charities, orphanages and organizations that support the African American community. She died in 1919 and was regarded as the wealthiest female African American in the U.S during her time.

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