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Black History Icons from Waterbury CT


Waterbury, Connecticut has been home to several influential Black Americans who have made significant contributions to the country. Here are some of the notable figures from Waterbury's Black history:

William Lanson

William Lanson was an African-American businessman born in Virginia in 1776. He moved to Waterbury in the early 19th century and became a successful entrepreneur. Lanson is best known for his role in the construction of the Farmington Canal. He was responsible for organizing the labor force that built the canal, which was a major transportation route in Connecticut at the time. Lanson's contribution to the canal's construction helped Waterbury become an important industrial center.

John L. Lewis

John L. Lewis was an American labor leader who was born in Iowa in 1880. He moved to Waterbury in the early 20th century and became involved in the labor movement. Lewis was a founding member of the United Mine Workers of America and served as its president from 1920 to 1960. He was known for his advocacy for workers' rights and was a key figure in the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

James O. Patterson

James O. Patterson was a prominent African-American businessman and civil rights leader in Waterbury. He was born in Georgia in 1910 and moved to Connecticut in the 1940s. Patterson was the founder of the Connecticut State Association of Negro Business and Professional Men's Clubs, which was established in Waterbury in 1947. He was also involved in the Civil Rights Movement and was a close associate of Martin Luther King Jr.

These are just a few of the many influential Black Americans who have contributed to Waterbury's rich history. Their legacies continue to inspire and influence generations to come.

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