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Dr Lewis Howard Latimer

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Dr Lewis Howard Latimer

  • Birth 4 Sep 1848 Chelsea, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 11 Dec 1928 Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA
  • Burial Fall River, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Memorial ID 10420881

Engineer, Inventor. Highly accomplished African-American pioneering engineer in the field of electricity. Dr. Lewis Howard Latimer worked closely with inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison to help bring about the 20th century's technological revolution. Born in 1848 in Chelsea, Massachusetts near Boston, Latimer was the son of fugitive slaves George and Rebecca Latimer. Latimer would later fight for freedom during the Civil War, concealing the fact that he was under age so he could serve on a Union gunboat. Afterward he returned to Boston and found work as an office boy for a firm of patent lawyers. From these humble beginnings, Latimer worked his way up and became a master draftsmen, engineer, and inventor. He married Mary Wilson who preceded him in death on September 20, 1873 and the couple had one daughter. Latimer's first major contribution to science took place when he drew the patent plans for the telephone, making the production of Bell's invention possible. Next, he revolutionized incandescent lighting-by discovering a way to make the filaments in Edison's light bulb more durable-and supervised the installation of electric street lighting in New York City, Philadelphia, Montreal, and London. His keen understanding of the electric light and power industries eventually earned him an important position on Edison's staff. Because achievements by African-Americans were seldom publicized in his day, Latimer never saw his name earn it's proper place in history. Yet he refused to let "unnumbered wrongs" break his spirit. Ever determined to make something of his life, Latimer was, as he himself said, "unconquered and unconquerable." Dr. Lewis Latimer died on December 11, 1928. Since his death his home in Flushing, New York, has been moved to a new location in Queens to serve as a museum.

Bio by: Curtis Jackson

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Curtis Jackson
  • Added: 2 Feb 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10420881
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Lewis Howard Latimer (4 Sep 1848–11 Dec 1928), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10420881, citing Oak Grove Cemetery, Fall River, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .