Today in labor history: Black inventor Henry Blair patents cotton planter

On this day in 1834, Henry Blair received a patent for inventing the corn seed planter. Blair, who lived in Maryland a slave-holding state, was illiterate. It is unknown if he was slave or free.  He went on to design and patent a cotton planter.

In 1857 patent rights were denied to slaves and were restored after the Civil War. Blair died in 1860, the year the war began.

Photo: Wikipedia


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People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.