Meet Lewis Latimer, the African American who enlightened Thomas Edison

Grist

We’re interrupting your regularly scheduled programming on gentrification to bring you this Black History Month profile on Lewis H. Latimer, the African-American renaissance man who in the late 19th century helped not only invent the lightbulb, but also create the electric industry as we know it today. Yes, it’s common knowledge that Thomas Edison was the lightbulb’s inventor. And with today being Edison’s birthday, the electric industry won’t let us forget that, either:

It’s a bit generous to credit all of this to “one man’s vision.” There were competing visions all throughout the 1800s on how to efficiently distribute light, beyond a candle, and on how to power growing urban centers. Populations in northern American cities began exploding in the closing decades of the 19th century not only because…

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