Our country sets aside a month every February to celebrate Black History Month and the accomplishments of Black individuals in American history. These men and women have made significant contributions to culture, manufacturing, politics, and education, just to name a few. At Carter, we’re taking a moment to recognize Black excellence within the transportation industry. These are just some of the notable Black men and women whose achievements, innovative ideas and hard work have made the transportation industry what it is today:
Andrew Beard – invented the automatic train car coupler. Prior to his invention, railroad workers had to couple train cars by hand – a dangerous part of the job.
Archie Alexander – a civil engineer who specializes in bridge construction. His engineering firm constructed the Whitehurst Freeway, the Tidal Basin Bridge, and the extension of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
Charles Brooks – invented the first self-propelled street sweeper.
Charles and Frederick Patterson – Charles created the successful C.R. Patterson and Sons Carriage Company. His son, Frederick, eventually converted the business into a bus and car company. It became the first African American-owned car manufacturing company.
David Baker – invented interliners that prevent tire punctures.
Elbert R. Robinson – improved trolleys for electric railways. His design adjusted the trolley’s wheels and chanced how they took turns and went down hills.
Elijah J. McCoy – a mechanical engineer who revolutionized railway transportation with his automatic lubricator for steam engines.
Frederick McKinley Jones – patented a portable air conditioner for trucks to transport perishable food. His technology is still used today.
Garrett Morgan – patented his three-position traffic signal in 1923 which included a T-shaped pole and the ability to be lit up at night.
Lois Cooper – the first female African American transportation engineer hired by what we now know as the California Department of Transportation. She was part of several important projects including the I-105 Century Freeway, the San Diego Freeway, the Long Beach Freeway, the San Gabriel River Freeway, and the Riverside Freeway.
Mary Fields – also known as Stagecoach Mary, she was the first African American woman star-route mail carrier in the U.S. She paved the way for other minority women in the field of distribution.
Maya Angelou – San Francisco’s first female African American streetcar conductor at the age of 16.
Meredith Gourdine – developed an exhaust purification system to help reduce pollution and harmful emissions from vehicles.
Ralph W. Sanderson – created the hydraulic shock absorber.
The Safe Bus Company – Founded by 13 African American Jitney Bus Drivers in North Carolina, the Safe Bus Company was created to provide transportation to their neighborhoods. It became the largest African American-owned and operated transportation business in the world transporting around 8,000 passengers a day.
William Thaddeus Coleman Jr. – the first African American to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. During his tenure, he established the Materials Transportation Bureau, which addressed pipeline safety and safe hazardous materials shipment.
At Carter Express, we’re honored to look back and honor the amazing contributions Black individuals have made to help create the transportation industry we know today. We are proud to be a company that prioritizes diversity and a culture of respect within our team. If you’re interested in joining the Carter family, give us a call today!