Black History Month: Influencing mobility for centuries

2020-02-06T16:57:51-08:00| Categories: Blog| Tags: |

The RTC is joining the community in celebrating the many contributions of African Americans who have revolutionized transportation throughout the years, and continue to do so.

It’s a great time to take you down memory lane and acknowledge the everlasting impacts of mobility innovators and game changers.

In 1922, Garrett Augustus Morgan Jr., an inventor and businessman, made one of the most significant advancements to traffic control when he improved the traffic signal. After witnessing a major car crash, Morgan applied for and received a patent in 1923 to add a warning light to the then two-light system. Back then, most traffic signals only had two positions: stop and go. Morgan’s t-shaped design added a third position halting all traffic. This would allow the intersection to clear before a light turned green once again. Vehicle crashes decreased significantly and we still use this innovative safety technology in traffic control today.

Advances in technology are not the only way African Americans have left their mark on transportation. In 1955, the Montgomery Bus Boycott championed by Rosa Parks and a young Dr. Martin Luther Jr. was a major blow to segregation on buses throughout the nation. Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man when the Jim Crow laws in the South required her to do so. Rosa, a secretary for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement for Colored People) became the face of the boycott that, nowadays we say, ‘went viral’ nationwide. The boycott led to the United States Supreme Court ruling segregation on buses unconstitutional. The high court decision changed the public transportation experience for people of color and ensured equality for all generations to follow.

These are just a few examples of how Black History has impacted mobility, safety, and equality. Garrett Morgan and Rosa Parks were proud Americans looking to do the right thing.

That’s what Black History is all about!

The RTC will be out in the community at a number of Black History Month celebrations. If you see us, swing by and say hello!

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