By Carroll W. Pursell

ISBN-10: 0262162253

ISBN-13: 9780262162258

ISBN-10: 1423796578

ISBN-13: 9781423796572

Students operating on the intersection of African-American historical past and the historical past of expertise are redefining the belief 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 yankee historical past 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 identify comes from the well-known track 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 assets 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 by means of a slave; decisions from Frederick Douglass's autobiography and Uncle Tom's Cabin; the accomplice Patent Act, which barred slaves from preserving patents; articles from 1904 by means of Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois, debating the problem of commercial schooling for African-Americans; a 1924 article from Negro global, "Automobiles and Jim Crow Regulations"; a photo of an all-black global struggle II wrestle squadron; and a 1998 presidential government order on environmental justice. A Hammer of their arms and its significant other quantity of essays, expertise and the African-American adventure (MIT Press, 2004) may be crucial references in an rising region of research.

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As the men with whom we lived were not slaveholders, we enjoyed some relief from the peculiar evils of slavery. Each of us lived in a family where there was no other negro. The slaveholders in that state often hire the children of their slaves out to non-slaveholders, not only because they save themselves the expense of taking care of them, but in this way they get among their slaves useful trades. They put a bright slaveboy with a tradesman, until he gets such a knowledge of the trade as to be able to do his own work, and then he takes him home.

Mr. Gardiner was that season engaged in building two large man-of-war vessels, professedly for the Mexican government. These vessels were to be launched in the month of July of that year, and in failure thereof Mr. Gardiner would forfeit a very considerable sum of money. So, when I entered the ship-yard, all was hurry and driving. 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.

One Monday morning, two of these men had not been so fortunate as to get home at the required time: one of them was an uncle of mine. Besides these, two young men who had no families, and for whom no such provision of time was made, having gone somewhere to spend the Sabbath, were absent. ’’ Preparatory to this, he had a rope in his pocket, and a cowhide in his hand, walking about the premises, and speaking to every one he met in a very insolent manner, and finding fault with some without just cause.

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A Hammer in Their Hands: A Documentary History of Technology and the African-American Experience by Carroll W. Pursell


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