Black History Month in Logistics
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Black History Month
February is Black History Month. Here at AM Transport, we recognize that American history should and must encompass black history–not just one month a year, but during all months. For too long, African Americans have felt much like James Baldwin who said in 1963, “I began to be bugged by the teaching of American history, because it seemed that history had been taught without cognizance of my presence.”
Logistics is an industry revolutionized by the contributions of African Americans over the years. We thought now was a great time to pay tribute to some of these great people.
We Celebrate These Contributors to the Transportation Industry
Garrett Augustus Morgan, Jr. witnessed a major car crash in 1922, and as a result, applied for and got the patent to add a warning light to what was only a two-light system in 1923. Vehicle crashes decreased and the warning light is still used today.
Frederick McKinley Jones made sure the transport of perishable goods was safe when he patented the mechanical transport refrigeration system. Awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1991, Jones was the first black inventor to receive this award. 40 of the 61 patents he was granted during his life were for refrigeration equipment.
Lois Cooper was the first female African American transportation engineer to be hired in the Engineering Department at the Division of Highways in California in 1953. She was instrumental in several projects that included the I-105 Century Freeway and the San Diego Freeway.
Mary Fields (Stagecoach Mary) was the first African American woman to work for the United States Postal Service. History hales her as fearless. She always carried firearms and she never missed a day of work. She is known as clearing the way for minority women in the distribution field.
Andrew Beard was an inventor who patented a design for a rotary steam engine and also the Jenny coupler which used interlocking jaws allowing railroad cars to be hooked together automatically rather than manually which made this task much safer. In 1887, the US Congress made it illegal to operate railroad cars without automatic couplers.
William Thaddeus Coleman, Jr. was the fourth United States Secretary of Transportation (1975-1977) and the second African American to serve in the US Cabinet. During his tenure at DOT, the Materials Transportation Bureau was established to address pipeline safety and the safe shipment of hazardous materials.
Here at AM Transport Services, we celebrate the achievements of these great men and women whose impact on our industry continues to reverberate today.