Born into slavery in 1850, Sarah E. Goode received her freedom at the end of the Civil War. She moved to Chicago and eventually became an entrepreneur. Along with her husband Archibald, a carpenter, she owned a furniture store. Many of her customers, who were mostly working-class, lived in small apartments and didn’t have much space for furniture, including beds.
As a solution to the problem, Sarah Goode invented a cabinet bed, which she described as a “folding bed,” similar to what nowadays would be called a Murphy bed. When the bed was not being used, it could also serve as a roll-top desk, complete with compartments for stationery and other writing supplies. This invention made her the first African American woman to be granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, for her invention of a folding cabinet bed on July 14, 1885. She died in 1905.