Friday, November 15, 2019

The Unstoppable Garrett Morgan

DiCicco, Joan. The Unstoppable Garrett Morgan
October 1st 2019 by Lee & Low Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Born in 1877 to freed slaves, Garrett Morgan had an extraordinary life. Because he spent most of his life in Cleveland and invented (among other things) the stop light, he has long been on my radar as an excellent choice for biography projects, but there is not a lot of information about him. (He appears in Eight Black American Inventors (1972) by Robert C. Hayden, and is the main reason I still have the book in my library.) Morgan moved from Kentucky to Cincinnati in his teens, and moved to Cleveland because he heard opportunities were better there. He worked in clothing manufacture and distinguished himself repairing equipment. He later started his own clothing business with his wife (who was of Bavarian descent, unusual for the time), and developed a hood that fire fighters could wear to protect them from smoke and gas during fires. This was a very popular invention, but in order to sell and promote it, Morgan occasionally had to have white friends pretend to be the head of the business. This apparatus was modified and was used to protect soldiers from gas during WWI. He also developed a more effective stop light in 1923 that included the yellow light to warn people to slow down.
Strengths: This was a good picture book overview of Morgan's life, and covered more high points than many picture book biographies. There are also timelines, notes, and a bibliography at the back that are very helpful. I'd love to see Lee and Low put out other biographies on figures who have not been well covered in the past; #WNDB should also cover biographies beyond Harriet Tubman and Dred Scott!
Weaknesses: There's so much interesting stuff about Morgan, and he lived at an interesting time. Not the fault of this book that it didn't cover everything; elementary schools need biographies, too!
What I really think: I will purchase this, but I am still hoping for a longer biography on this famous inventor. I'd love to see information about his social activism as well.

So, that #30Wears thing? This is what I'm wearing today; the picture on the right is from 2010, when the sweater matched the new library carpet so well. I am wearing the same turtleneck and pin, albeit a different skirt! And somehow, this still seems like a "new"sweater!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting. I love learning about lesser-known historical people!