Eli Whitney Was Not Black

Eli Whitney Was Not Black

(Eli Whitney The Inventor Of The Cotton Gin Was Not A Black Man He Was White) 

By Chance Kelsey, Chancellorfiles.com  

 Eli WhitneyChance: Eli Whitney was born in Westborough, Massachusetts on December 8, 1765 and died January 8, 1825,  he was an American inventor and manufacturer, Eli invented the cotton Gin. The cotton gin was a mechanical device which removed the seeds from cotton, a process which was until that time extremely time consuming and labor-intensive. Black slaves spent hours picking cotton and removing the seeds from the cotton — but with the invention of the cotton gin, this process was now made easy. The cotton gin also helped boost the economy of the Southern states Of American. But one of the most interesting things about Eli Whitney’s life beside inventing the cotton gin is — that many Black Americans during the 20th century and many in this 21st century thought and think that Eli Whitney was black. For all I know many Blacks even during the 19th century possibly thought that Eli Whitney was a black man.

He was a white man, both his mother and father were white. How the rumor can along that said he was black can be hard to trace. Even in some Black American history books they have Eli Whitney labeled a black man who invented the cotton gin. And, many Blacks read these Black history books that name all of the great Black men and women who invented devices, wrote literature, helped Black people progress economically and educationally, politically, etc and see a page about Eli naming him as the Black man who invented the cotton gin.

Eli was a White man not a Black man, it is unfortunate that many Black Americans and Blacks in other countries who study Black American history have been misinformed. Even when Blacks doe plays about famous Black inventors they say in front of their audience that Eli Whitney was a Black man. This is a perfect example of how misinformation can be passed along generation after generation. Many members of other ethnic groups also, believe that Eli was Black. Hopefully, as the 21st century move along more Blacks and members of all racial groups will be informed that Eli Whitney was not Black but a white man.

He did a great service for America by inventing the cotton gin now let’s do him service by clearing up the mistaken information about his racial identity. He was not Black but he was a White man. 


Written during the 21st century by Chance


Page 2 references Eli Whitney From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search Eli WhitneyInventor and manufacturing pioneer Eli Whitney was born in Westborough, Massachusetts on December 8, 1765, the eldest child of Eli Whitney, a prosperous famer, and Elizabeth Fay of Westborough. He early demonstrated his mechanical genius and entrepreneurial acumen, operating a profitable nail manufacturing operation in his father’s workshop during the American Revolution.

Because his step-mother opposed his wish to attend college, Whitney worked as a farm laborer and school teacher to save money. He prepared for Yale with the Rev. Elizur Goodrich of Durham, CT and entered the Class of 1792 at the age of twenty-three. Whitney expected to study law but, finding himself short of funds on graduation, accepted an offer to go to Georgia as a private tutor. In the closing years of the eighteenth century, Georgia was a magnet for New Englanders seeking their fortunes (its Revolutionary era governor had been Lyman Hall, a migrant from Connecticut). When he sailed for Savannah, among his shipmates was the widow and family of Revolutionary hero, General Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island. Mrs. Greene invited Whitney to visit her plantation, Mulberry Grove.

Her plantation manager and husband-to-be was Phineas Miller, another Connecticut migrant and Yale graduate (Class of 1785), who would become Whitney’s business partner. Contents [hide] 1 Invention and innovation 1.1 Cotton Gin 1.2 Interchangeable Parts 1.3 Later Life and Legacy 2 References 3 External links [edit] Invention and innovation Cotton gin [edit] Cotton Gin The South in the decades following the Revolution was a region in decline. Intensive commodity agriculture had exhausted its soils and, as the British empire expanded, the growers of many of its staple products, like tobacco, rice, and indigo, found themselves competing in world markets. Britain’s industrial revolution had created a booming market for cotton, most of which was imported from India. Short staple cotton was known to grow well in the South; but separating seeds from cotton fibers proved to be extremely labor intensive.


The cotton gin is a mechanical device which removes the seeds from cotton, a process which until that time had been extremely labor-intensive. The cotton gin was a wooden drum stuck with hooks, which pulled the cotton fibers through a mesh. The cotton seeds would not fit through the mesh and fell outside. The cotton gin could generate up to fifty pounds of cleaned cotton daily. This contributed to the economic development of the Southern states of the United States, a prime cotton growing area; some historians believe that this invention allowed for the African slavery system in the Southern United States to become more sustainable at a critical point in its development. Cotton Gin PatentLike so much about Whitney’s career, his claims as inventor of the cotton gin were disputed both in his own time and in our own. In addition to contempory claiments against whom Whitney litigated (with varying success), modern historians of technology have suggested that the gin may actually have been invented by others, among whom his patroness Catherine Greene, John Ogden Nash, and Hogden Holmes have been mentioned. Whitney received a patent (later numbered as X72) for his cotton gin on March 14, 1794, however, it was not validated until 1807. Whitney and his partner Miller did not intend to sell the gins.


Rather, like the proprietors of grist and saw mills, they expected to charge farmers for cleaning their cotton – two-fifths of the profits, paid in cotton. Resentment at this scheme, the mechanical simplicity of the device, and the primitive state of patent law, made infringement inevitable. Whitney’s cotton gin company went out of business in 1797. While the cotton gin did not earn Whitney the fortune he had hoped for, it did transform southern agriculture and the national economy. Southern cotton found ready markets in Europe and in the burgeoning textile mills of New England. Cotton agriculture revived the profitability of slavery and the political power of supporters of the South’s "peculiar institution." By the 1820s, the dominant issues in American politics were driven by "King Cotton": maintaining the political balance between slave and free states and tariff protection for American industry.


 The cotton interests led the country into war with Mexico, expecting a vast expansion of cotton agriculture. [edit] Interchangeable Parts Although Whitney is popularly credited with the invention of a musket that could be manufactured with interchangeable parts, the idea predates him and he never succeeded at it. The idea is credited to Jean Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval, a French artillerist, and credit for finally perfecting the "armory system," or American system of manufacturing, is given to Captain John H. Hall. In From the American System to Mass Production, historian David Hounshell describes how de Gribeauval’s idea propagated from France to the colonies via two routes: from Honoré Blanc via his friend Thomas Jefferson, and via Major Louis de Tousard, another French artillerist who was instrumental in establishing West Point, teaching the young officer corps of the Continental Army, and in establishing the armories at Springfield and Harper’s Ferry. By the late 1790s, Whitney was on the verge of bankruptcy. Cotton gin litigation had left him deeply in debt. His New Haven cotton gin factory had burned to the ground, and litigation sapped his remaining resources. The French Revolution had ignited new conflicts between England, France, and the United States. The new American government, realizing the need to prepare for war, began to rearm.


The War Department issued contracts for the manufacture of 10,000 muskets. Whitney, who had never made a gun in his life, obtained a contract in January, 1798 to deliver ten to fifteen thousand muskets in 1800. He had not mentioned interchangeable parts at that time. Ten months later, Treasury Secretary Wolcott sent him a "foreign pamphlet on arms manufacturing techniques," possibly one of Honore Blanc’s reports, after which Whitney first began to talk about interchangeability. After spending most of 1799-1801 in cotton gin litigation, Whitney began promoting the idea of interchangeable parts, and even arranged a public demonstration of the concept in order to gain time. He did not deliver on the contract until 1809, but then spent the rest of his life publicizing the idea of interchangeability. (Hounshell, pp 30-32) Whitney’s defenders have claimed that he invented the American System of Manufacturing — the combination of power machinery, interchangeable parts, and division of labor that would underlie the nation’s subsequent industrial revolution. While there is persuasive evidence that he failed to achieve interchangeability, his use of power machinery and specialized division of labor are well documented (Woodbury 1960).


He made other contributions as well. When the government complained that Whitney’s price per musket compared unfavorably with those produced in government armories, Whitney was able to calculate an actual price per musket by including fixed costs such as insurance and machinery, which the government had not included. He thus made early contributions to both the concept of cost accounting, and the concept of the efficiency of private industry. [edit] Later Life and Legacy Despite his humble origins, Whitney was keenly aware of the value of social and political connections. In building his arms business, he took full advantage of the access that his status as a Yale alumnus gave him to other well-placed graduates, like Secretary of War Oliver Wolcott (Class of 1778) and New Haven developer and political leader James Hillhouse. His 1817 marriage to Henrietta Edwards, granddaughter of the famed evangelist, Jonathan Edwards, daughter of Pierpont Edwards, head of the Democratic Party in Connecticut, and first cousin of Yale’s president, Timothy Dwight, the state’s leading Federalist, further tied him to Connecticut’s ruling elite.


 In a business dependent on government contracts, such connections were essential to success. Whitney died of prostate cancer on (January 8, 1825, leaving a widow and four children. His armory was left in charge of his talented nephews, Eli Whitney and Philos Blake, notable inventors and manufacturers in their own right (they invented the mortise lock and the stone-crushing machine). Eli Whitney, Jr. (1820-1894) assumed control of the armory in 1841. Working under contract to inventor Samuel Colt, the younger Whitney manufactured the famous "Whitneyville Walker Colts" for the Texas Rangers. (The success of this contract rescued Colt from financial ruin and enabled him to establish his own famous arms company). Whitney’s marriage to Sarah Dalliba, daughter of the U.S. Army’s chief of ordinance, helped to assure the continuing success of his business. The younger Whitney organized the New Haven Water Company, which began operations in 1862. While this enterprise addressed the city’s need for water, it also enabled the younger Whitney to increase the amount of power available for his manufacturing operations at the expense of the water company’s stockholders.


Originally located in three sites along the Mill River, the new dam made it possible to consolidate his operations in a single plant. Whitney’s grandson, Eli Whitney III (1847-1924), sold the Whitney Armory to Winchester Repeating Arms, another notable New Haven gun company, in 1888. He served as president of the water company until his death and was a major New Haven business and civic leader. He played an important role in the development of New Haven’s Ronan-Edgehill Neighborhood [1]. Following the closure of the armory, the factory site continued to be used for a variety of industrial purposes, including the water company. Many of the original armory buildings remained intact until the 1960s.


In the 1970s, as part of the Bicentennial celebration, interested citizens organized the Eli Whitney Museum, which opened to the public in 1984. The site today includes the boarding house and barn that served Eli Whitney’s original workers and a stone storage building from the original armory. Museum exhibits and programs are housed in a factory building constructed c. 1910.


 A water company office building constructed in the 1880s now houses educational programs operated by the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (which succeeded the New Haven Water Company). Eli Whitney and his descendants are buried in New Haven’s historic Grove Street Cemetery  References Battison, Edwin. (1960). "Eli Whitney and the Milling Machine.

" Smithsonian Journal of History I. Cooper, Carolyn, & Lindsay, Merrill K. (1980). Eli Whitney and the Whitney Armory. Whitneyville, CT: Eli Whitney Museum. Dexter, Franklin B. (1911). "Eli Whitney." Yale Biographies and Annals, 1792-1805. New York, NY: Henry Holt & Company. Hall, Karyl Lee Kibler, & Cooper, Carolyn. (1984). Windows on the Works: Industry on the Eli Whitney Site, 1798-1979. Hamden, CT: Eli Whitney Museum Hounshell, David A.(1984). From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Lakwete, Angela. (2004).


Inventing the Cotton Gin: Machine and Myth in Antebellum America. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Smith, Merritt Roe. 1973. "John H. Hall, Simeon North, and the Milling Machine: The Nature of Innovation among Antebellum Arms Makers." Technology & Culture 14. Woodbury, Robert S. (1960). "The Legend of Eli Whitney and Interchangeable Parts." Technology & Culture 1 [edit] External links The Eli Whitney Museum Essay CottonTimes.com Eli Whitney Biography on at Whitney Research Group About.com.


By Chance kelsey (Chancellor)

  1. what the…? i’m speechless. okay now if someone can successfully trace HOW eli whitney was labeled a black man!?


    anyways, thanks for stopping by. it’s always good to hear from you!

    take care!

  2. Hello Suedemuffins

    It is good to see you cyber-spacing by this intellectual mad-house (website), one of the reason that Eli Whitney was thought by Blacks to have been a black man was because, some people believe that it was an illiterate slave who came up with then idea of the cotton gin. And, Eli Whitney stole those ideas from this black slave. But there were other people who had the idea of a machine that picked before Eli Whitney and his business partner. Eli was just the first to make it popular and put it into mass production (he had workers build the cotton gin and sold them to farmers). There possibly is another reason about why he was called black example maybe because Black slaves picked cotton and the cotton gin was used by slaves, so as time went on when people heard of the name Eli Whitney they though he must be Black — because Black slaves pick cotton — and Eli made a machine called the cotton gin to make life easier for his fellow black people who were in slavery. Now there could be more reasons out there about why he was called black too. But the one thing we know for a fact, and that is that he was a white man.

    You take care, Suedemuffins

    By Chance

  3. Kristin

    Hi there…Man i love reading your blog, interesting posts ! it was a great Wednesday

  4. Chance

    Glad you liked the site!

  5. jenosh

    this artickle was very resourceful in writing my paper. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me in my needs. again thank you

  6. Chance

    @ Jenosh,

    Jenosh wrote: this artickle was very resourceful in writing my paper. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me in my needs. again thank you

    It was my pleasure to write this essay so the truth would be made known about the real racial ethnicity of Eli Whitney. I grateful that it helped you, and that brings me a great satisfaction, and I will continue to write essays on various topics that can be of some use to the readership here at chancellorfiles.

    Thank you, for taking the time to comment Jenosh and letting me know that I did a good job by writing this essay, and clearing up some misconceptions.
    Come by again Jenosh

  7. jenosh

    when was this website last published?

  8. jenosh

    when was this website last updated?

  9. Chance

    @ Jenosh

    This website/blog is updated constantly. Just click on the name at the top chancellorfiles or go to archives, and you will see that it has been updated this month.

  10. Marie

    but it was VERY common for Black ppl to make inventions and innovations only to have whites take credit for it and patent them. so i can see how this rumor lives so strongly.

  11. Eternal One

    It seems to be true that Eli Whitney was in fact a white man. But he did no great justice inventing the cotton gin, it in fact reinvigorated the slave industry in this country….causing more suffering and for blacks, because of the production increase. It helped sustain the slave trade in the Americas….one invention we could have all done without…Eternal One

  12. I know exactly how this got started. I went to public school in the 80’s and 90’s. This misinformation was printed in school textbooks by publishers who get various unknown and uneducated people to write the text and edit the whole thing together, then they pay some other unknown person to put their name on the book because they DO have a degree in something. Then they distribute the books to the schools, and most of the teachers just follow that curriculum. Public education is a joke, just like public welfare and every other service the government attempts to provide.

  13. Bobby White

    If anyone can get a hold of History Textbooks written around 1940’s or earlier. You would see that Eli Whitney and the Wright Brothers were considered Black. It was taught in Black Segregated schools. My elders remember learning Eli Whitney and The Wright Brothers were both Black. They were related to at least one black person. It was part of the 1% black rule created by Jim Crow and his racist laws. One time in our history, Whites hated the color of dark skin that they considered 1 drop be a black. DNA of Y-DNA shows the Wright Brothers have E1B1 or African DNA. Later, White people unaware or who didn’t care about the Jim Crow laws, wanted to claim the Wright Brothers and Eli Whitney to add to their White History, which took away from Black History. This is why the fight is carried on today. One day, maybe we will just have an American History and Black and White won’t be an issue.

  14. Explain to me why a white man would make life easier for a Black slave. This was obviously and invention by a Black man to make life easier for himself and his people as originally taught in every public school in America. Especially at P.S. 163 in Flushing Queens New York. For more than the last 100 years it was taught as fact that he was a Black Man !!!!.

  15. Greg

    Idiot ignorant Sheila. How come all pics of him show him as a white man? In fact most so called black inventions are lies. If anyone can name 5 black so called inventions, I can name the real inventor, date and even a patent number. I believe this started because blacks don’t have a written history and somehow stealing others make them feel better about there history or lack thereof.

  16. V.E.G.

    Eli Whitney is the cousin of Meredith Baxter, the actress on the highest rated sitcom in known history to be cancelled after one season. Meredith Baxter’s mother was a Whitney!

  17. Darlene

    Where are your proof that Eli Whitney was not a Black man.

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