You know what they say, when it rains it pours and it's a scary thing if you gotta drive in it without windshield wipers.  Once again, another black invention makes our lives a lot easier and safer.  Mrs. Mary Anderson, invented the windshield wiper.Mary Anderson was born in Greene County, Alabama at the very beginning of reconstruction in 1866.  In 1889 her family moved to Birmingham and soon after getting there, built the Fairmont Apartments on Highland Avenue.

Mary was truly a jack of all trades, by 1893, she moved to Fresno where she operated a successful cattle ranch and vineyard.

In a visit to New York City in the winter of 1903, on a cold frosty day and while sitting in a trolley car Mary observed that the motorman drove with the front window open because he couldn't see due to the sleet.  When she returned to Alabama she hired a designer for a hand-operated device to keep a windshield clear and had a local company produce a working model.

The windshield was born.  From there, in 1903 she applied for and was granted, a 17-year patent for a windshield wiper.` Her device consisted of a lever with a rubber blade.   The lever could be operated from inside a vehicle to cause the spring-loaded arm to move back and forth across the windshield. Similar devices had been made earlier, but Mrs. Mary's was the first, to really work.

In 1905 she tried to sell the rights through a noted Canadian firm, but they rejected her application, saying "we do not consider it to be of such commercial value as would warrant our undertaking its sale."  That would be a big mistake, because as the automobile industry grew, so did the great need for Mrs. Mary's windshield wipers.  And in 1920 the automobile manufacturing business began using Anderson's basic design as standard equipment.  The rest his pretty much history.  You go girl!

Mrs. Mary Anderson lived a long prosperous life and passed away in 1953 at the age of 87 in Monteagle, Tennessee.


On the day in 1817, Frederick Douglass was possibly born, abolitionist and orator.  Born into slavery as Frederick Baile, Douglass purchased his freedom in 1845 and went on to become the greatest abolitionist of his time.  In 1867 Morehouse College organized in Augusta, Georgia.  The institution was later moved to Atlanta. New registration law in Tennessee abolished racial distinctions in voting.  On this day in 1936 the National Negro Congress organized at a Chicago meeting attended by 817 delegates representing more than 500 organizations.  Asa Phillip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was elected president of the new organization.   Last but not least on this day in 1946, one of the greatest tap dancers/actors/Entertainers the late Gregory Hines was born.