Little Known Black History Fact: Henry Blair

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  • Henry Blair received his first patent on October 14, 1834 for his seed planter invention. He was the second black man to patent his own creation. The Montgomery County, Maryland native looked for ways to help corn farmers plant seeds more effectively.

    Because Blair was illiterate, he could not read or write, and therefore signed his patent form with a simple letter “X.” He is the only person in the U.S. Patent office known as “Colored Man.”  No other inventory in history, past or present, is identified simply by race or color.

    Only two years after his invention of the corn seed planter, Blair lent his skill to the cotton industry. In 1836, he invented the cotton planter. The horse-drawn planter worked by splitting the ground with two blades that were similar to shovels. An additional piece shaped like a cylinder dropped the seeds as the apparatus moved.

    Two decades after Blair had filed his two patents, jealous slave owners fought to have slaves and freed slaves banned from filing patents, claiming that their ideas were the property of the masters and as a result of the labor imposed by their masters. By 1858, a law was passed revoking citizenship of slaves, consequently banning them from filing any patents. This law stayed in place until the end of the Civil War.

    Henry Blair died in 1860.
     

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    10 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Henry Blair

    1. This is why obtaining an education is important to Blacks today. Also, Mitt and company are trying to deny Blacks their rights now.

    2. It is widely believed in the Old South that Eli Whitney DID NOT create the cotton gin. One of his slaves did and Eli took the credit for it. It is amazing that we survived all the atrocities that this country put black folks through.What is even more amazing , is that many young black folk DO NOT KNOW and DO NOT WANT TO KNOW their own history. IF our kids knew their history, they would have a better sense of justice, tolerance, freedom, education and equal opportunity for all……………………………………

    3. Slaves and free blacks during the time of slavery contributed much to science and invention as well as to the field of agriculture, the foundation of this society. Benjamin Bannekar, Lewis Temple, Benjamin Bradley, and countless others came before or during the time of Henry Blair. Henry E. Baker’s “The Colored Inventor” written during the early 20th Century is an excellent source.

    4. What the heck are you talking about? You just let MIt get into office if you want to. Are you Black? It’s hard for me to believe a Black person can’t see through Mitt Romney. Whites don’t want to, they are still clinging to the old belief that all White People are Republicans because they share a common purpose. That’s what has played out. He said 47%, there are some white folks that Mitt doesn’t see anywhere near his side of the coin. Mitt will make the U.S. look like a 3rd world country. He doesn’t know a thing, but his money makes him think he can sell anything. Sad.

    5. What the heck are you talking about? You just let MIt get into office if you want to. Are you Black? It’s hard for me to believe a Black person can’t see through Mitt Romney. Whites don’t want to, they are still clinging to the old belief that all White People are Republicans because they share a common purpose. That’s what has played out. He said 47%, there are some white folks that Mitt doesn’t see anywhere near his side of the coin. Mitt will make the U.S. look like a 3rd world country. He doesn’t know a thing, but his money makes him think he can sell anything. Sad.

    6. Who told you that? What did Mitt Romney say or do for you to actually believe that? Why is it that the Liberal narrative is always the Republican trying to oppress people in one way or another? It is not working anymore! You will have to come up with something else to scare black people away from Republicans!

    7. How did we ever make it as far as we have? Trickery, deceit, and the likes are somehing else. This was the 1800s, and we are still not able to relax and enjoy all that this country has to offer it’s citizens. Nor are we recognized for all we have and can contribute to this country. No doubt that Blacks are smart, the man couldn’t write his name, but he could invent something so useful. We are an incredible people. I wish we all knew that.

    8. How did we very make it as far as we have? Trickery, deceit, and the likes are somehing else. This was the 1800s, and we are still not able to relax and enjoy all that this country has to offer it’s citizens. Nor are we recognized for all we have and can contribute to this country. No doubt that Blacks are smart, the man couldn’t write his name, but he could invent something so useful. We are an incredible people. I wish we all knew that.

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