Celebrating Black History Month in Manufacturing

By Katie Foley 

February is Black History month and a time to remember and celebrate the many accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history. Today, we take a look at 3 black American manufacturers who paved the way for black Americans in this field.

“I am not satisfied in making money for myself.  I endeavor to provide employment to hundreds of women of my race.” – Madame CJ Walker

Madame CJ Walker: In 1908 Madame CJ Walker created started her own company manufacturing specialized hair products for black American women. The Madame CJ Walker Manufacturing Company employed thousands of women. In addition to on the job training in sales and grooming, Madame CJ Walker taught many women how to budget, build their business, and become financially independent.

Charles Richard Patterson: Born into slavery in 1833 in Virginia, Patterson escaped slavery in 1861 and settled in Greenfield, OH. Patterson then went into the carriage-building business with business partner JP Lowe. JP Lowe was bought out by Patterson and the company became known as CR Patterson and Sons Company. The company built 28 types of horse drawn vehicles. After Patterson’s death in 1910, his son Frederick took over the business, turning it into an automobile business.

George Washington Carver: Born into slavery around 1864, Carver went on to become one of the most prominent scientists and inventors of his time. Carver developed over 100 products using the peanut including dyes, plastics, and gasoline.

There are countless other black American manufacturers who are not featured in this blog that have left their mark on the manufacturing industry and for whom we should be grateful.

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