America’s first Black automaker who produced cars way before Henry Ford honored

Abu Mubarik June 17, 2022
Photo Courtesy Historical Society of Greenfield

Entrepreneur Derek Bailey has honored America’s first Black automaker, C.R. Patterson. Bailey, himself a car maker, said he has always admired Patterson.

“He was actually born before the Emancipation Proclamation. He built a car company in that period and time,” Bailey said. “Black men have been doing great things throughout history.”

Patterson, born into slavery, built automobiles before Henry Ford did. And after 100 years in his midtown Atlanta showroom, Bailey has gasoline-powered cars he converted to electric vehicles, according to WSB-TV.

“Our retrofit is to show that we can use our technology to bring everyone into the EV revolution by allowing you to bring an old car in on Monday, and next Monday pick up an electric car,” Bailey said on Monday.

The Atlanta entrepreneur is also making preparations to unveil the production of a new EV that will come with a special generator to charge the car’s battery and get rid of the need for a charging station.

According to WSB-TV, Derek Automotive is honoring Patterson to mark Juneteenth. Also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day in the United States, Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of some 250,000 enslaved people in Texas in 1865.

Bailey believes that Patterson would be proud to ride in one of Bailey’s new cars. 

“He’d probably go over to my car and help me make improvements. The man was a master craftsman! I’m not. I’m relying on good Chinese partners to help me build this car. He’d probably be proud as he criticized my car,” Bailey said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 17, 2022


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