Ohio’s Own: 1st Black-Owned Car Manufacturer

#ohioblackexpo Frederick Douglas Patterson was the first African American to manufacture cars. He was also the first African American on the Ohio State University football team. Patterson was an entrepreneur who lived from 1871 – 1932. He was known for the Greenfield-Patterson automobile of 1915, which was constructed in Ohio. Patterson later converted his business to the Greenfield Bus Body Company.

Ohio Black Expo is a statewide humanitarian organization, originally formed in 1988, that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Ohio’s African American citizens, by establishing and encouraging an independent self-help approach to problem solving.


The founder of The Ohio Black Expo, Rhonda D. Robinson, was initially inspired to create the Columbus Black Expo after successfully registering 70 plus vendors for the Columbus Black Convention in 1980. The Columbus Black Expo was held at the Focal Point of Mt. Vernon Plaza from 1981 – 1987. After seven (7) years, realizing that the event was drawing people and vendors from around the state and beyond, she changed the name to the Ohio Black Expo to reflect what was happening.

The first Ohio Black Expo (OBE) event took place at Veterans Memorial downtown. It was held there from 1988 through 1991, peaking at almost 300 exhibitors and over 30,000 attendees.

 

 

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