Lewis Latimer (1848-1928): Renaissance Man
Download complete teachers'
guide (PDF document. File size: 3 MB. Download time: approx. 11 min.
Educational Goals and Learnings
- Students will learn the story of Lewis Latimer's parents, George and Rebecca Latimer, fugitive slaves who became important symbols in the pre-Civil War abolition movement, and identify William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass as outstanding abolitionists.
- Students will learn the story of Lewis Latimer's life, including his military service in the Civil War, his abilities as a self-taught draftsman, the chronology of his subsequent career, and the variety of talents and interests that identify him as a "Renaissance Man."
- Students will learn of Latimer's contributions to science by identifying his inventions and authorship of a book on incandescent electric lighting.
- Students will learn of Latimer's work with the following inventors:
- Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone-Latimer executed the drawings for the telephone and assisted Bell in the procedures for securing a patent.
- Hiram Maxim, an inventor and chief engineer for the U.S. Electric Lighting Co.-while in Maxim's employ, Latimer developed a carbon filament that made the incandescent electric light bulb longer lasting, less expensive, and practical.
- Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the first practical incandescent electric light bulb-Latimer worked for him as a knowledgeable electrical engineer and pioneer in the development of electricity.
- James, Portia P. The Real McCoy: African-American Invention
and Innovation, 1619-1930. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution
- Judd, Michael. "Lewis Latimer: African American Inventor, Poet and
Activist," in Magazine of History, ed. Michael Regoli.
Bloomington, IN: Organization of American Historians, Winter 1998.
- Norman, Winifred Latimer, and Lily Patterson. Lewis Latimer.
New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1994.
- Schneider, Janet M., and Bayla Singer, eds. Blueprint for Change:
The Life and Times of Lewis H. Latimer. Jamaica, NY: Queens Borough
Public Library, 1995.
- Turner, Glennette Tilley. Lewis Howard Latimer. Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Silver Burdett Press, 1991.
All text and images © Smithsonian Institution. Updated 26 February 1999.
back to Innovative Lives