By Carroll W. Pursell
Students operating on the intersection of African-American background and the heritage of know-how are redefining the assumption of know-how to incorporate the paintings of the expert artisan and the ingenuity of the self-taught inventor. even though denied entry via so much of yank heritage to many new applied sciences and to the privileged schooling of the engineer, African-Americans were engaged with a diversity of applied sciences, as makers and as clients, because the colonial period. A Hammer in Their fingers (the name comes from the well-known tune approximately John Henry, "the steel-driving guy" who beat the steam drill) collects newspaper and journal articles, ads for runaway slaves, letters, folklore, excerpts from biography and fiction, criminal patents, protest pamphlets, and different fundamental resources to rfile the technological achievements of African-Americans.Included during this wealthy and sundry assortment are a letter from Cotton Mather describing an early approach to smallpox inoculation introduced from Africa via a slave; decisions from Frederick Douglass's autobiography and Uncle Tom's Cabin; the accomplice Patent Act, which barred slaves from keeping patents; articles from 1904 via Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois, debating the difficulty of commercial schooling for African-Americans; a 1924 article from Negro international, "Automobiles and Jim Crow Regulations"; a photo of an all-black global battle II wrestle squadron; and a 1998 presidential government order on environmental justice. A Hammer of their palms and its significant other quantity of essays, expertise and the African-American adventure (MIT Press, 2004) should be crucial references in an rising region of research.
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Additional resources for A Hammer in Their Hands: A Documentary History of Technology and the African-American Experience
I had been stooping for some time under the weight of the horse, which was large, and was very tired; meanwhile, my master had taken his position on a little hill just in front of me, and stood leaning back on his cane, with his hat drawn over his eyes. I put down the horse’s foot, and straightened myself up to rest a moment, and without knowing that he was there, my eye caught his. This threw him into a panic of rage; he would have it that I was watching him. ’’ He came down upon me with his cane, and laid on over my shoulders, arms, and legs, about a dozen severe blows, so that my limbs and flesh were sore for several weeks; and then after several other offensive epithets, left me.
Philip Fitzhugh: he is about 24 years of age, 512 feet high, well set, inclined to be corpulent, tawney complexion, lively countenance, and speaks distinctly, though quick; he is an excellent joiner. He took with him a pair of new brown cashmere pantaloons, a round upper jacket of the same cloth, a green broad cloth coat, with a blue velvet collar, a handsome swansdown waistcoat, with mettle buttons a new black hat, new shoes, fine white cotton stockings, green pantaloons, and other cloathing. The above reward will be paid to any person who shall lodge them in any jail, either in Maryland or Virginia, and ample compensation made for any other trouble or expence.
Main strength—human muscle—unassisted by intelligent skill, was slavery’s method of labor. With a capital of about sixty dollars in the shape of a good-natured old ox, attached to the end of a stout rope, New Bedford did the work of ten or twelve thousand dollars, represented in the bones and muscles of slaves, and did it far better. In a word, I found everything managed with a much more scrupulous regard to economy, both of men and things, time and strength, than in the country from which I had come.
A Hammer in Their Hands: A Documentary History of Technology and the African-American Experience by Carroll W. Pursell