Marie Van Brittan Brown of Queens invented the home security system

Sade Baderinwa Image
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
EMBED <>More Videos

Sade Baderinwa reports on Marie Van Brittan Brown's accomplishments for Black History Month.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- If you have a "home security system" protecting your home, you have an African American woman from Queens to thank.

In the late 1960s, Marie Van Brittan Brown was a nurse who lived in Jamaica, Queens.

When she got worried about crime in her neighborhood, she decided to do something about it.

Her husband, Albert Brown, was an electronics technician.

The two of them got work.

ALSO READ: Inside 'The Historymakers,' the nation's largest African American video oral history archive

In 1969, they submitted an application for a patent for an innovative security system that included a front door camera and a two-way microphone and a speaker that allowed the homeowner to see and communicate with visitors.

It also had a radio-controlled lock and an alarm to alert a nearby security guard.

The government granted the patent in 1969.

ALSO READ | Dr. Patricia Bath revolutionized cataract surgery with her device and technique

Brown's invention paved the way for the high-tech security systems used today.

She died in 1999 at the age of 76.

Over the years, her invention has been cited in 32 other patent applications.

For more Black History Month stories, visit abc7ny.com/BlackHistory.

MORE ABC 7 UNITE

See more stories at abc7NY.com/unite

SEND STORY IDEAS TO EYEWITNESS NEWS

Watch Here & Now

Here & Now episode archive

RESOURCES

We are also publishing resources in a range of areas, which will grow and can be found below:

Ways to Help

Black Lives Matter

Black Voters Matter Fund

NAACP

National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform

Voices of Community Activists & Leaders (VOCAL-NY)

Black LGBTQIA + Migrants Project

Teaching the Next Generation

Black Lives Matter at School

Creating Space To Talk About Racism At Your School

Teaching for Black Lives - Rethinking Schools

Black-Owned Bookstores in New York and New Jersey

Cafe con Libros (Brooklyn)

Grandma's Place (Harlem)

Sister's Uptown (Manhattan)

Source of Knowledge (Newark)

The Lit. Bar (Bronx)

The Little Boho Bookshop (Bayonne)

Books

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In A Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

Podcasts

1619

Black Wall Street 1921

Jemele Hill is Unbothered

Still Processing:

Movies

American Son: Available on Netflix

If Beale Street Could Talk: Available on Hulu

Just Mercy: Available on Amazon Prime

Selma: Available on Amazon Prime

The Hate U Give: Available on Amazon Prime

When They See Us: Available on Netflix

Documentaries

13th: Available on Netflix

America Inside Out with Katie Couric: Available on National Geographic

Becoming: Available on Netflix

I am Not Your Negro: Available on YouTube