n November 2020, Port Of Harlem will celebrate 25 years of publication. As we count down to our birthday, we will republish some of our most popular articles from our print issues. Thanks for subscribing and inviting others to join you in supporting our inclusive, diverse, pan-African publication - - now completely online. We originally published this article in the February - April 2008 print issue.
Henry A. May nearly fell off his chair when he processed the words that came out of his mother’s mouth. “Here was my mother, in 1980, telling me about a family member who made automobiles in the early 1900s,” recounts May in “First Black Autos.” The family member of whom May’s mother spoke was Charles Richard “C.R.” Patterson, founder of the C.R. Patterson and Sons Company of Greenfield, Ohio. A runaway slave with no formal education, C.R. created the first and only documented Black-owned and operated automobile manufacturer in the world.