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Celebrating Black History Month
Each February, EEI celebrates Black History Month, which commemorates the achievements of Black Americans and highlights their central role in history. EEI is proud to recognize one of the first "pioneers” of the electric power industry, Lewis H. Latimer. 

A talented engineer, draftsman, and prolific inventor, Latimer was born on Sept. 4, 1848, in Chelsea, Mass. Recognized for his drawing skills, Latimer was hired by the inventor Alexander Graham Bell to draft the drawing necessary for a patent application of Bell’s famous telephone in February 1876. 

In 1881, Latimer began working on improving Thomas Edison’s light bulb while employed by the United States Electric Lighting Company in Bridgeport, Conn. Latimer devised a way of encasing the filament within a cardboard envelope. This prevented the carbon from breaking, prolonging the life of the bulb. The new long-life bulb was more economical and more energy-efficient than previous bulbs. 

On Jan. 24, 1918, Latimer was named one of the 28 charter members—and the only African-American member—of the "Edison Pioneers," a distinguished group of people who worked to keep the ideals of Thomas Edison alive. The “Edison Pioneers” are deemed responsible for creating the nation's electric power industry. 

Latimer continued to display his creative talents over the next several years, receiving patents for a variety of inventions, including a safety elevator. Latimer died on Dec. 11, 1928, leaving behind a legacy of achievement and leadership. 

To learn more about Lewis Latimer and his impact on the electric power industry, watch this video on EEI’s YouTube channel. Hear EEI Investor Relations Specialist Aaron Cope talk about Black History Month and his experience as vice president of the D.C. chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy in this video

Read this Black History Month Trailblazers story on EEI’s Delivering the Future webpage to learn more about other Black innovators in the electric power industry from the past and present. And, to learn how three EEI member companies are investing in historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), read "Member Companies Invest in HBCUs" on EEI’s Delivering the Future webpage.​

Visit the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s website​ for more information about Black History Month.