A Hammer in Their Hands: A Documentary History of Technology by Carroll W. Pursell

By Carroll W. Pursell

Students operating on the intersection of African-American heritage 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 supposing denied entry via such a lot of yank historical past to many new applied sciences and to the privileged schooling of the engineer, African-Americans were engaged with a variety of applied sciences, as makers and as clients, because the colonial period. A Hammer in Their arms (the name comes from the recognized 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 basic resources to record 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 through a slave; choices from Frederick Douglass's autobiography and Uncle Tom's Cabin; the accomplice Patent Act, which barred slaves from preserving patents; articles from 1904 via Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois, debating the problem of business schooling for African-Americans; a 1924 article from Negro international, "Automobiles and Jim Crow Regulations"; a photo of an all-black international conflict II strive against squadron; and a 1998 presidential govt order on environmental justice. A Hammer of their fingers and its better half quantity of essays, expertise and the African-American adventure (MIT Press, 2004) could be crucial references in an rising quarter of analysis.

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Daniel, a Negro Man of a black complection, about 40 years old, five feet ten or eleven inches high, remarkably well made, spry and active, when spoken to replies quick and distinct, and frequently with a down look. In the use of implements of husbandry, he far exceeds ordinary fellows—the coat he wore away was of blue broadcloth. There is very little doubt but he has obtained a free pass, with which he will attempt to reach the State of Ohio or Pennsylvania. Whoever will apprehend said negro and confine him in jail so that I get him again, or will bring him to me, shall receive the above reward, together with all reasonable expences and charges.

I let them lay on for awhile after I came to myself, with a view of gaining strength. They did me little damage so far; but finally getting tired of that sport I gave a sudden surge, and despite their weight I rose to my hands and knees. Just as I did this one of their number planted a blow with his boot in 34 Chapter 3 my left eye, which for a time seemed to have burst my eye-ball. When they saw my eye completely closed, my face covered with blood, and I staggering under the stunning blows they had given me, they left me.

There were in the yard about one hundred men; of these, seventy or eighty were regular carpenters—privileged men. There was no time for a raw hand to learn anything. Every man had to do that which he knew how to do, and in entering the yard Mr. Gardiner had directed me to do whatever the carpenters told me to do. This was placing me at the beck and call of about seventy-five men. I was to regard all these as my masters. Their word was to be my law. My situation was a trying one. I was called a dozen ways in the space of a single minute.

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