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African-American Pioneers in the Printing Industry

Black History Month Hero
In honor of Black History month we are recognizing African-American inventors of the printing industry. They introduced their creations that changed the world and helped build the printing industry as we know it.

George Washington Carver

1864-1943
George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver invented printer’s ink. Which was made with legumes to make them more advantageous. In other cases they were made with cowpeas, sweet potatoes, soybeans, and peanuts. Carver became the most notorious naturalist of his time.

Today, printer ink is mainly made of linseed or soybean oil as a stabilizer to blend pigments. This kind of ink evaporates when it dries.

William A. Lavalette

1839-1914
William Lavalette

Credit from www.medium.com

William Lavalette made improvements and arrangements of parts to the printing press. He was awarded the patent number, 208184, for his advancements. He was living in Northeast Washington when he received this patents.

Rev. Peter Williams, Jr. and William Hamilton

1786-1840 | 1773-1836
Rev. Peter Williams, Jr. and William Hamilton

Credit from www.allenpress.com

Rev. Peter Williams, Jr. and William Hamilton co-founded the first African American newspaper, The Freedom’s Journal, which was printed in March 1827. The goal for this newspaper was to inform and encounter unfavorable beliefs of African-Americans. The Freedom’s Journal employed the first two African American newspaper editors, Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm. 

The newspaper featured:

  • Domestic and International News
  • Job Listings
  • Anti-Slavery Editorials
  • Current Events
  • Biographies of well-known African-Americans
  • Birth, Wedding, and Death announcements.
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