Famous African American inventors include George Washington Carver, Garret Morgan and Madame C.J. Walker. Many made and patented their creations at a time when African Americans still did not have all of the rights they later acquired and were subject to segregation and prejudice.
George Washington Carver was the inventor of numerous peanut products, such as peanut ink, hand lotion and cooking oil. He was not the inventor of peanut butter, as is sometimes alleged. One of his most important contributions was the development of crop rotation in the South, which helped preserve the richness of the soil by yearly alternating between peanuts, cotton and peas so that no one plant would deplete the soil of specific minerals.
Garret Morgan improved traffic signals and sewing machines. His specific contributions include a three-command traffic light, a departure from the two-command form used at the time. He also created a prototype gas mask that eventually came into use during World War I.
Madame C.J. Walker was the creator of the Madame C.J. Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower, which functioned as a scalp treatment. She also created several other beauty products, establishing herself as one of the most successful African American women of the time.