Alexander Miles was an African-American inventor who was best known for being awarded a patent for an automatically opening and closing elevator door design in 1887. He was awarded the patent, U.S. Patent 371,207, on October 11, 1887. Alexander Miles was born in Ohio in 1838. He moved to Waukesha, Wisconsin where he earned a living as a barber. After a move to Winona, Minnesota in 1870, he met his wife Candace J. Dunlap a white woman born in New York, in 1834. Together they had a daughter named Grace. Shortly after her birth, the family relocated to Duluth, Minnesota.