Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. (March 4, 1877 – August 27, 1963) was an inventor who invented a type of respiratory protective hood (conceptually similar to modern gas masks), a type of traffic signal, and a hair-straightening preparation. He is renowned for a heroic rescue in which he used his hood to save workers trapped in a tunnel system filled with fumes. He is credited as the first African-American in Cleveland to own an automobile.
At the age of fifteen, Morgan moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in search of employment. Most of his teenage years were spent working as a handyman for a wealthy Cincinnati landowner. Like many African-Americans of his day, Morgan had to quit school at a young age in order to work. However, the teen-aged Morgan was able to hire his own tutor and continued his studies while living in Cincinnati. In 1895, Morgan moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked repairing sewing machines for a clothing manufacturer. In 1920 he helped to found the Cleveland Call and Post newspaper. He married Madge Nelson in 1896, but the marriage ended in divorce. Word of his skill at fixing things and experimenting spread quickly throughout Cleveland, opening up various opportunities for him.