Biden’s Claim “A Black man invented the lightbulb” Not Edison Debunked by Fact Checks

Joe Biden’s claim during a event Thursday in Kenosha Wisconsin that “a Black man invented the light bulb, not a White guy named Edison” fails to clear fact checks.

Biden said “People fear that which is different. We’ve got to, for example, why in God’s name don’t we teach history in history classes? A Black man invented the light bulb, not a White guy named Edison.”

He added then “There’s so much — did anybody know before what recently happened that Black Wall Street in Oklahoma was burned to the ground. Anybody know these things? Because we don’t teach them. We’ve got to give people facts.”

Politifact called the claim “Mostly False.”

In their summary they explain “Edison is widely credited with inventing the lightbulb, but he built on the work of many others in developing a practical version of an incandescent filament in a vacuum chamber.”

Politifact further notes Lewis Latimer, the black man Biden is referring to “built further on that work by inventing a superior filament, which he patented a year after Edison’s bulb.”

Their conclusion is “So both played a role, but Latimer’s role was lesser and later.”

In addition,  LeadStories, another fact checking site, also rated the claim that Lewis Latimer invented the light bulb is FALSE.

Molly Weisner wrote in a January 26,2020 piece “Did Lewis Latimer, an African-American man from Massachusetts who was bought from slavery, invent the light bulb and telephone?

No, that’s not true: Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and Thomas Edison invented the first light bulb.

But, Latimer did play an important role in helping both inventions become more refined and patented in the late 1800s.”