The C.R. Patterson and Sons Company:

Black Pioneers in the Vehicle Building Industry, 1865-1939

'Driven' Movie and Documentary Officially Announced

See multiple awards highlighted below

A History of the First Black Auto Manufacturers  

2022 Second Edition major update to the 2010 edition

Written by Christopher Nelson

“A masterful and compelling deep dive into indelible chapters of untouched and never explored American history, stunning your sensibilities of what you thought you knew.

In over a decade of filmmaking, I’ve never seen more replete research for a Hollywood project!

Christopher Nelson takes you on a winding journey through the past with elements still entirely relatable to the present.  A must-read for generations to come as these pioneers are finally given a well-deserved place in the annals of history.”

~ Madisun Leigh - Scenario Entertainment & Pergola Pictures 


Support from first-line family descendants of the Patterson Company

"I am Richard P. Patterson, the Great Grandson of C.R. Patterson and the Grandson of Frederick Douglass Patterson. Christopher Nelson captured the essence of “the Patterson and Sons Company” in his first book and expands it in the second edition. The book is historically correct as Christopher has painstakingly verified the facts about the family and the business. In the second edition, Christopher includes personal family stories shared by my sister Betty P Gardin and myself. This book would be a great addition to anyone’s library and will enhance our understanding of American history."


"The Story Black History Missed! This definitive work on Patterson's company and the Patterson family deserves far more recognition by Black historians than what has been given." 

~ Larry Chapman - Greenfield, Ohio History Teacher (Retired)


The C. R. Patterson and Sons Company: Black Pioneers in the Vehicle Building Industry, 1865-1939: Nelson, Christopher: 9798848332070: Books 


The first edition of the book was featured on the CBS show S.W.A.T. during the November 27, 2019 episode "Sea Legs"

On July 22, 2021, C.R. Patterson and Frederick Douglass Patterson, the first two generations of family to run the Patterson Company, were inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Detroit. This honor was bestowed on them for their contributions to the transportation industry and for Frederick being the first Black manufacturer of automobiles. This demonstrated that the Patterson contribution to history mattered and, while generally fallen by the wayside for 80 years after they closed the factory, a long-overdue recognition of their efforts has finally come to light and their story will live on.

American Writing Awards 2022

WINNER in History - General category

FINALIST in Best New (Debut) Nonfiction, History - United States, and Biography categories

Indie Reader Discovery Awards


Cadmus Book Awards

WINNER in History

Book Excellence Awards

WINNER in Biography

Includes Special Award for 

Best Research

Reader Views 2022

Reviewer's Choice Awards

WINNER in History - Adult Classics (Non-Fiction)


    The BookFest

           Silver in History and Biography 

Best Book Awards 2022

Sponsored by American Book Fest

FINALIST in History - United States and History - General categories

The C. R. Patterson and Sons Company book and highlights of some of Christopher Nelson's research were featured in an article in The Washington Post on February 18, 2023.  The article, released during Black History Month, featured some of the Patterson story of how they ended up in Greenfield, Ohio, and the development of the Patterson Company. It discusses their transition from carriages and buggies, to automobiles, and later buses and trucks under the name Greenfield Bus Body Company. The company passed through three generations of the family under Charles Richard (C. R.) Patterson, his sons Frederick Douglass Patterson and Samuel Patterson, and finally grandsons Frederick Postell Patterson and Postell Patterson during their 74 years in business. It also touches on Frederick's time at The Ohio State University, serving as President of his class and being the first Black player on the football team. There is also a mention of Frederick's involvement with Booker T. Washington and the Negro Business League. See the full article in The Washington Post.

This article came out on AndScape / ESPN on the last day of Black History Month 2023. Writer Branson Wright did an excellent job of capturing a different angle of the Patterson story. It focuses on Frederick's time at The Ohio State University where he was the first Black football player on the team when he joined the team in 1890. He went on to become Class President and was involved in many other activities while at the university. The article sprinkles in just the right amount of Patterson family and company history to show some of the bigger picture outside of the university setting.

Website Design by Benjamin Nelson 2022


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