Meet The Black Family Who Produced Cars For 100 Years Before Henry Ford

The advancement of Black people in the field of science and technology has been hidden for centuries. The curriculums used in teaching in African schools was manipulated and created in a way to make sure that the African child, man/woman, does not learn about the technological greatness of his/her ancestors, and even those present.

When it comes to the field of automobile manufacturing, many people in the world believe that Henry Ford is the father and pioneer. They were not taught that a company owned by a formerly enslaved Black man, named Charles Richard Patterson, from Ohio, in America, manufactured automobiles before Henry Ford.

Charles Richard Patterson

The technological ingenuity of the Patterson family would not have been known if he continued to be enslaved in the South of America. The South was the most brutal and repressive of enslaved Africans. Patterson made adequate plans and escaped the Southern state of West Virginia, and reached Ohio where he became a free man. This was before the Civil War.

Patterson had an interest in production, and would always invest in a Blacksmith business once a month. After some time, he took over the ownership of the blacksmith company and controlled its productions.

Patterson began the production of their Horse-drawn carriage in the 1860s, and perfected this craft, becoming one of the best in the business in the 19th century. He continued to make an impact on American society with his carriages until he passed away in 1910.

After his death, his son, Frederick Douglass Patterson, took over the management of the business, and the production of their carriages.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Frederick Douglass Patterson launched a new vision for the company, and they expanded to the production of automobiles. In 1915 they rolled out their first automobile production line.

The small size of the company, prevented them from building their automobiles in large quantities, to dominate the United States market. And because of this financial challenge, they were starved of adequate fame and exposure. But even at the level which they operated, the company was able to move unto the production of trucks and buses also.

Henry Ford then later took over the automobile industry and became a household name, in America, and indeed the world. But till date, the style and prototype of the Patterson-Greenfield Automobile is sort after by car manufacturers, to create a unique style of automobile engines.

The Greenfield-Patterson Bus


The achievements of men like Frederick Douglass Patterson, and his father Charles Richard Patterson, are noteworthy in the study of Black greatness and ingenuity.

The study of such achievements by Africans (and Black people) around the world, is essential in the formation of a resilient charisma and pride among Black people worldwide.

Great attention should be given to stories such as these by the education ministries and boards in Africa, so as to imbibe in young Africans the confidence to follow the legacies of their ancestors, who changed the world, even in the harshest of environments and situations.

A boy posing with the Greenfield-Patterson Bus Boy model

African schools, backed by the European curriculums have always painted the Europeans as the inventors of everything good in the field of science and technology. But we know that that is false, and we are doing our best to tell the hidden stories an achievement of the Black race.

Parents and elders should dig and find the great achievements of people of African descent around the world, and teach them to their children. This will go a long way in changing the narrative of how Africans look upon themselves, now and in the future.

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