North Carolina-Coleman Manufacturing Company-November 27


North Carolina People, Places, and Things-November 27

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

Cole Manufacturing Company was the first black owned cotton mill in the United States in Concord, North Carolina. Its founder, Warren C Coleman became the wealthiest black man in North Carolina by the 1890s.

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Warren C. Coleman was born to a white father, Rufus C. Barringer, and a slave mother in Cabarrus County on March 25, 1849. At 18, Coleman worked as a merchant and real estate investor in Concord. There he also started a barbershop and candy store and later transitioned into the mercantile trade.

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He became the wealthiest black man in the state by the late 1890s. As a member of the North Carolina Industrial Association, created to support black owned businesses, he created a cotton mill to benefit African American workers. In February 1897, Coleman Manufacturing Company was established.

With help from North Carolina black leaders such as James Walker Hood, John C. Dancy, and Edward A. Johnson, the blueprint for the project was completed on February 8, 1898. In 1899 cotton production began. The mill maintained an average of 300 workers.

In 1902, the mill suffered financial losses from the high price of cotton and Coleman was forced to abandon his role as director. Coleman died soon after in March 1904. In April 1904, financer Benjamin N. Duke sold the property to textile businessman James William Cannon in March 1906.

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Coleman Manufacturing Company began operation under the name Cannon Plant Number Nine.

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