A Page From Our American Story

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.
A Page From Our American Story
At the dawn of the Automobile Age in the early 20th century, hundreds of small auto companies sprouted up across America as entrepreneurs recognized that society was transitioning from horse-drawn carriages to transportation powered by the internal combustion engine. Some of these early companies grew to become giants that are still with us today, such as Ford and Chevrolet. Many others remained small, struggling to compete against the assembly lines of the larger manufacturers.One such company was C.R. Patterson & Sons of Greenfield, Ohio, makers of the Patterson-Greenfield automobile from 1915 to 1918. Though its name is little recognized today, there is in fact a very important reason to ensure that it is not lost to history: it was, and remains to this day, the only African American owned and operated automobile company.

Frederick Patterson with a prototype of the Patterson-Greenfield automobile.

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Charles Richard Patterson was born into slavery on a Virginia plantation in 1833. Not much is known about his life on the plantation, and historians have to sift through conflicting reports about how he came to settle in Greenfield, Ohio, a town with strong abolitionist sympathies. Some say his family arrived in the 1840s, possibly after purchasing their freedom; others suggest Patterson alone escaped in 1861. In any case, he learned the skills of the blacksmith and found work in the carriage-making trade, where he developed a reputation for building a high quality product. In 1873, he formed a business partnership with another carriage maker in town, J.P. Lowe, who was white, and eventually became sole proprietor of the renamed C.R. Patterson & Sons in 1893. It was a successful business employing an integrated workforce of 35-50 by the turn of the century, and Charles Patterson became a prominent and respected citizen in Greenfield. His catalog listed some 28 models, from simple open buggies to larger and more expensive closed carriages for doctors and other professionals.

When Patterson died in 1910, the business passed to his son Frederick, who was already something of a pioneer. He was college-educated and was the first black athlete to play football for Ohio State University. He was also an early member and vice president of the National Negro Business League founded by Booker T. Washington. Now, as owner and operator of the enterprise his father started, Frederick Patterson began to see the handwriting on the wall: the days of carriages and horse-drawn buggies were nearing an end.

Early advertisement for the Patterson-Greenfield automobile.

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At first, the company offered repair and restoration services for the “horseless carriages” that were beginning to proliferate on the streets of Greenfield. No doubt this gave workers the opportunity to gain some hands-on knowledge about these noisy, smoky and often unreliable contraptions. Like his father, Frederick was a strong believer in advertising and placed his first ad for auto repair services in the local paper in 1913. Initially, the work mostly involved repainting bodies and reupholstering interiors, but as the shop gained more experience with engines and drivetrains, they began to offer sophisticated upgrades and improvements to electrical and mechanical systems as well.This valuable experience allowed C.R. Patterson & Sons to take the next great step in its own story as well as in African American history: in 1915, it announced the availability of the Patterson-Greenfield automobile at a price of $685. From the company’s publicity efforts, it is evident they were bursting with pride:

“Our car is made with three distinct purposes in mind. First — It is not intended for a large car. It is designed to take the place originally held by the family surrey. It is a 5-passenger vehicle, ample and luxurious. Second — It is intended to meet the requirements of that class of users, who, though perfectly able to spend twice the amount, yet feel that a machine should not engross a disproportionate share of expenditure, and especially it should not do so to the exclusion of proper provisions for home and home comfort, and the travel of varied other pleasurable and beneficial entertainment. It is a sensibly priced car. Third — It is intended to carry with it (and it does so to perfection) every conceivable convenience and every luxury known to car manufacture. There is absolutely nothing shoddy about it. Nothing skimp and stingy.”

A child leans out of a 1917 Patterson-Greenfield roadster.

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Orders began to come in, and C.R. Patterson & Sons officially entered the ranks of American auto manufacturers. Over the years, several models of coupes and sedans were offered, including a stylish “Red Devil” speedster. Ads featured the car’s 30hp Continental 4-cylinder engine, full floating rear axle, cantilever springs, electric starting and lighting, and a split windshield for ventilation. The build quality of the Patterson-Greenfield automobile was as highly regarded as it had been with their carriages.The initial hope and optimism, however, proved to be fairly short-lived. In an age of increased mechanization and production lines, small independent shops featuring hand-built, high quality products weren’t able to scale up production or compete on price against the rapidly growing car companies out of Detroit. In small quantities, parts and supplies were expensive and hard to come by when major manufacturers were buying them by the trainload at greatly reduced costs. Plus, the labor hours per car were much higher than that of assembly line manufacturers. As a result, the profit margin on each Patterson-Greenfield was low.

A Patterson-Greenfield bus printed with the words 'Greenfield School District'.In 1918, having built by some estimates between 30 and 150 vehicles, C.R. Patterson & Sons halted auto production and concentrated once again on the repair side of the business. But they weren’t done yet. In the 1920s, the company began building truck and bus bodies to be fitted on chassis made by other manufacturers. It was in a sense a return to their original skills in building carriage bodies without engines and drivetrains and, for a period of time, the company was quite profitable. Then in 1929, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression set in. As with many small businesses, sales dried up and loans were hard to obtain. The company, now run by the sons of Frederick Patterson, soldiered on until 1939 when, after 74 years, C.R. Patterson & Sons closed its doors forever.

Sadly, no Patterson-Greenfield automobiles are known to survive today. But we should not let that dim the fact that two great entrepreneurs, Charles Richard Patterson and his son Frederick Patterson built and sustained a business that lasted several generations and earned a place not just in African American history, but in automotive history as well.

 Portrait of Lonnie Bunch All the best,
Signed by Lonnie Bunch
Lonnie Bunch

September eNews: Chile Pepper Festival


View this email with images.


Chile Pepper Festival

Saturday, September 27 | 11 a.m.–6 p.m.


New York’s hottest fall festival is back, with an exciting roster of blazing bands from around the world, including Latin, Cajun, indian, African, and Balkan beats! Feel the burn as you sample artisanal hot sauces, pick fresh peppers from our local farm stand, and indulge in spicy sweets from Brooklyn’s best chile-chocolatiers. Get tickets in advance for express entry, and get lucky with a giveaway from our friends at Flavorpill.

Classes for All Ages

Registration now open!


Children’s Classes

The Children’s Garden is bursting with fall produce! After a mild summer, squash are now peeking out all over the place, sunflowers are nodding tall over a sea of salad greens, and raspberry canes are heavy with fruit.

Classes began in early September, but there are still a few spaces left on Friday afternoons for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Kids will tend to their garden plots and harvest, prepare, and taste lots of veggies like kale, tomatoes, peppers, and more. Register today!

Classes for Adults

Morning Meditative Walk
Find peace and inspiration by taking a walk through the Garden before it opens to the public. Align yourself with nature, practice conscious breathing, and meditate on interbeing and our oneness with our environment. Participants receive gentle guidance in physical alignment, breath awareness, and simple supported yoga poses.
Section A: Saturday, September 13 | 9–10 a.m.
Section B: Saturday, September 20 | 9–10 a.m.
$10 member; $12 nonmember

Family Adventure Nature Walks

Saturdays, September 13, 20 | 3 p.m.

http://enews.bbg.org/q/PMbjuKdC1_IpCFa7iPnz43EW2mQn0eB7KurzbEId6yAqYc1GZhbiB4_6OPhoto by Caroline Voagen Nelson.

  1. 100 years of kids in the Garden with fun, interactive walksaround the BBG grounds. Tour spots off the beaten path to make amazing plant and animal discoveries. Each walk spotlights what’s exciting right now in the Garden. Hands-on activities along the way add to the fun. Walks are free with Garden admission; preregister online.

Patience, Paper, Pen, and Brush

September 27, 2014–January 27, 2015
Artist Reception: Sunday, September 28 | 2–4 p.m.
Steinhardt Conservatory Gallery

http://enews.bbg.org/q/m3eSDJpg3o7rvd88wV7eSFP1m227YmFdJWUyRt3Ax8HYikIGCaLwFihefIllustration by Dick Rauh.

Renowned botanical illustrator Dick Rauh, a fellow of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium Society, has drawn a number of trees in BBG’s living collection, including specimens from the Garden’s important bonsai collection, the focus of this exhibition. Informed by a deep understanding of botany and plant morphology, Rauh’s work brings to light the architectural beauty of plants.

Mark Your Calendar

http://enews.bbg.org/q/8SV-rMeNxGE3V2renWy_OPTRn1fyOGxwMHbZPREl3kVqUeEGewEnxe63mClick on the calendar to find out what’s happening at BBG!

For Members

Your membership entitles you to fast, free access to the Chile Pepper Festival and all other public events at BBG. Just walk up to the gate and show your Garden membership card for easy entry—no waiting in line! Bring your guest passes to get your friends in for free too!

Not yet a member? Join now!

At the Terrace Café


Construction is under way for a new visitor dining experience! Brooklyn chef Rob Newton (Wilma Jean, Nightingale 9, Smith Canteen) will oversee the seasonal menus and overall creative vision of the Garden’s food service with catered events partner Patina Restaurant Group.
The new menu will debut
October 1 in the Steinhardt Conservatory, where food will continue to be served until Yellow Magnolia Café is ready to open later this fall.

The Terrace Café will be closed on Tuesday, September 30, for this transition. BBG extends its heartfelt thanks to longtime catering partners CharlesSallyCharles and their staff for their many years of exceptional service.

Plants in Bloom


Photo by Morrigan McCarthy.

The Annual Border’s tribute to theChildren’s Garden 100th anniversary is still going strong, with plants whose whimsical names, unique features (leaves of the sensitive plant, Mimosa pudica, fold if touched), and colorful blooms (zinnias, pansies, petunias) have plenty of kid appeal, as well as flowers and edibles that youngsters care for in their Children’s Garden plots(marigolds, nasturtiums, swiss chard). The Herb Garden is lush with a bounty of blooming artichokes, colorful peppers, and ripe tomatoes, and don’t miss the seasonal beauty of asters and autumn crocuses in the Rock Garden.

In the meantime, check Plants in Bloom to see what else is blossoming today.



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Unaccompanied Latin American Minors Project (U-LAMP)

Art Opening :
“A Ribbon Around A Bomb” by Suhaly Bautista, The Earth Warrior
Friday, July 11, 6:00pm – 8:30pm

Frida Kahlo’s art was once described by André Breton, surrealist movement founder, as reminiscent of “a ribbon around a bomb.” Breton’s description serves as the motivation behind this photographic document / portraiture series, which examines the myriad of dualities featured in Frida Kahlo’s life and work and mirrors them against womyn featured in the work as political revolutionary and feminist. The series contains 21 color portraits and the accompanying written reflections of womyn who Bautista considers vivacious, unapologetic, passionate and courageous -all qualities shared with the legendary Kahlo. It is an ode to the femininity and grace Frida embodied, coupled with the strength, pain, aggression and revolution, which were unvarying constants in her life.

Family Day: Music by ¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andres!,with special guests Mariana Iranzi and Sonia de los Santos!
Saturday, July 12, 2014, 11:00am – 12:30pm

Andrés Salguero’s ¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés!presents an interactive celebration of Latino culture for kids and families.
Dance with us to salsa, bachata, plena, mariachi and more!
Free event, perfect for families with children ages 2-8!

Presented in partnership with LAMC (Latin Alternative Music Conference)

3rd annual Frida Kahlo birthday celebration!
Saturday, July 12, 2014, 3:00pm – 5:00pm
This year we will be celebrating the Mexican artist with our annual look-a-like contest with contemporary inspiration. If Frida Kahlo were alive in 2014 what would she look like? Come with your best modern Frida inspiration and show her spirit still lives on!
Event will include music, photo booth, and art inspired by Frida. Can’t come with flowers in your hair? No problem! You will be able to create your own flower head piece at our art-making station.
$10 fee per person, advance ticket purchase recommended.
La Casa Azul Bookstore
143 E. 103rd St
El Barrio, NY 10029
(212) 426-2626
6 Train to 103rd Street
Store hours:
Tuesday – Saturday
12:00pm – 8:00pm
Sunday 12:00pm – 6:00pm
Closed Mondays



Breaking the Mold:
Male Characters in Latino Young Adult Literature (panel) 
Saturday July 19
12:00pm – 1:30pm  
Join us as we explore the role of Latino male characters in Young Adult (YA) literature. A discussion will be lead by bookstore staff and will include a panel of local male YA authors Torrey Maldonado and Matt de la Peña, recent recipient of the 2014 Pura Belpre Honor Award.
We will discuss what makes the protagonists relatable to teens today, why it is important to keep writing more Latino male leads in the future and how we can encourage our young men to be active lifelong readers. A Q&A session will follow in addition to a book signing by authors.

Please RSVP for events – it helps us to know how many people to expect per event. Register for all events via email:
Please note, the entry to La Casa Azul Bookstore requires walking down two steps. The event spaces (gallery and back patio) are both in lower levels. If you will need accommodations during an event, please include that information in your rsvp email.

Help Unaccompanied Latin American Minors in the New York City area.

 kick – off and info session: Thursday July 10, 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Film screening of : Thursday, July 24, 6:30pm – 8:00pm  

Film screening of : Sunday, August 10, 3:00pm – 4:30pm    

La Casa Azul Bookstore, in collaboration with the Unaccompanied Latin American Minor Project (U-LAMP) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/Safe Passage Project is launching a book drive for children who were apprehended and detained at the Mexico-US border and are currently in deportation proceedings in the New York City area.

These children and teenagers are living in both local shelters/centers and residing with legal guardians and need new and gently used Spanish-language books.

Purchase books at La Casa Azul Bookstore for the book drive, mention that the books are for the Unaccompanied Latin American Minor Project and receive a discount on your purchase.

La Casa Azul bookstore will also be accepting books from Thursday July 10th –  Sunday August 10, 2014.

We will accept age appropriate, culturally relevant, Spanish-language books for elementary school and middle school levels.

Bookstore staff will be delivering books to local shelters/centers and provide them directly to children and teenagers who are currently in deportation proceedings.

Visit our website for book drive details, HERE, and to learn about other ways to help.

April 2012

Check out: Brooklyn Museum’s: “Question Bridge: Black Male” Exhibit on display through June 3. If you visited this exhibit, share your thoughts with us!

Have you seen anything exciting latterly? Share with us on the “QAS Heritage and Culture” blog.

Thank you.  D.

Heritage and Culture / Fall 2011

Heritage and Culture / Fall 2011

QAS parishioners enjoy fellowship in Christ through a variety of ministries and societies. So blessed, QAS parishioners evangelize by praying and sharing themselves in the proud and spiritual manner of their forbearers.

Our International Rosary offers an open and inviting welcome to everyone. The International Rosary is a testament of our love of The Blessed Virgin Mother as we appreciate and pray to her in many of the beautiful languages of the world.

I have had the pleasure of enjoying exposure to other cultures through a variety of venues. Sometimes people talk about their childhood memories. I am sure you have also enjoyed listening to those who reminisce, although for some the memories are bittersweet.

Others talk about their acculturation into the American life style. Some people discuss cultural traditions. Traditions sometimes serve as examples of an identity or legacy that perhaps subsequent generations will remember and revere. For some people song, dance, food, literature, music evokes feelings of “home” and can transport the rest of us “home” with them!

I am Caribbean. I love my rich culture and beautiful heritage. While I appreciate my roots, I can also enjoy and develop varied tastes in art, music, food, theatre, etc. Our “oneness” allows anything we are exposed to lovingly, to resonant within us and become a source for shared enjoyment.

From Charlie Pride to Cecillia Bartoli or The Mighty Sparrow to Hector Devoe, and Maria Tallchief, please use this forum to share with us your favorite stories, people, and songs. Below is a sampling of a few of my personal favorites:

à Drama: “The Great King Sejong” and “Sue Thomas FBEye”.

à Music: Andreas Vollenweider, Kathleen Battle, YoYo Ma, Sting, Al Jarreau and Andrea Bocelli.

à Artist: Constantin Brâncuşi.

à Restaurants: Sugar Cane located at 238 Flatbush Avenue, At Bergen Street 718-230-3954. God Is located at 687B Washington at Prospect Place, 347-240-4217

à Secret (I Already Copyrighted This) Recipe: Stuffed Fish

Diane’s Stuffed Fish

I started a new Thanksgiving Feast tradition by replacing turkey with fish. My family enjoys this dish so much that it is expected every Thanksgiving and Christmas at the very least!

Sorry, I don’t measure. I’m a product of the outstanding tradition I carry with me from my Grandma and Ma who cook by feel, sight, smell, taste and common sense!

Whole fish (Bluefish usually or whatever looks fresh that morning)

Large shrimp

Fresh ginger

Fresh lemons

Old Bay Seasoning

Yellow onion

Fresh garlic

Fresh spinach

EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil)

Fix shrimps (cleaned and de-veined) as you would scampi (sauté lightly, don’t overcook in garlic, onion with EVOO).

Keep head (yours and the fish) on.

Once cleaned and scaled, place the fish in a shallow baking pan lined with aluminum foil allowing enough foil to cover the fish completely on all sides.

Layer the fish cavity with sliced ginger, sliced lemon, shrimp and fresh leaf spinach.

Generously sprinkle Old Bay throughout. Place any remaining shrimp, spinach, lemons, garlic etc, around the fish, and seal completely in foil. Bake at @350 degrees.

Test flaking periodically, and re-seal. White moist flaking indicates when done.

Let rest on stove, if your family will allow. If not enjoy hot or cold. (Well, ours never lasted long enough to get cold. You tell me!) Now I have to make two each holiday; I can’t get away with just fixing one stuffed fish anymore! “Oh me mother, oh me father.”

Cultural Ditties

Would you like to add a section on favorite sayings, terms, colloquialisms? It might be fun! Let’s share.

Question: When do you use the term “manseemeclothes”?

Answer: When a person wears clothes “too squeeze-up”, too tight or too revealing. Eh, eh.

Peace, Diane Ward

PS How do you define heritage, culture, identity, and tradition?