C.R. Patterson & Sons Company (1893-1939)

The C.R. Patterson & Sons Company was a carriage building firm, and the first African American-owned automobile manufacturer. The company was founded by Charles Richard Patterson, who was born into slavery in April 1833 on a plantation in Virginia. His parents were Nancy and Charles … Read MoreC.R. Patterson & Sons Company (1893-1939)

Robert Bogle (1774-1848)

Entrepreneur Robert Bogle was the first of many African American caterers who served nineteenth-century Philadelphia’s white elite. Born in 1774, the 1810 federal census shows Bogle and five members of his family in Philadelphia’s South Ward, where the majority of the city’s African American residents … Read MoreRobert Bogle (1774-1848)

John Henry Merrick (1859-1919)

John Henry Merrick—insurance agent, entrepreneur, business owner—was born in Clinton, North Carolina on September 7, 1859. Merrick was born a slave; he lived with his mother Martha Merrick and a younger brother. With the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation his family was freed. When Merrick was twelve … Read MoreJohn Henry Merrick (1859-1919)

Christopher Paul Gardner (1954- )

Christopher Paul Gardner—entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and writer—was born on February 9, 1954 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Gardner, never knowing his father, lived periodically with his mother, Bettye Jean Triplett, as well as in foster homes. After high school, he joined the Navy and then moved to … Read MoreChristopher Paul Gardner (1954- )

Christopher J. Perry (1854-1920)

Christopher J. Perry, a pioneering black businessman who championed racial equality, established the Philadelphia Tribune in 1884.  The Tribune is the oldest continuously published African American newspaper in the nation. Perry was born in Baltimore, Maryland on September 11, 1854 to parents who were free. … Read MoreChristopher J. Perry (1854-1920)