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Overcoming Discrimination by Consumers during the Age of Segregation: The Example of Garrett Morgan

Abstract

From professional baseball to legal services, discrimination against sellers became widespread in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This article examines the means by which African American inventor-entrepreneurs overcame discrimination against them by consumers. It makes use of data from the advertising records of Garrett Morgan, who invented the modern gas mask and the traffic light. Both the deliberate use of measures, such as disguises and surrogates, and serendipity (the result of the racial neutrality of patents) were critical in facilitating sellers' anonymity and in promoting desirable economic outcomes.

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Business History Review
  • ISSN: 0007-6805
  • EISSN: 2044-768X
  • URL: /core/journals/business-history-review
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