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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Sunday, May 20th

The last time we were at the barn, my youngest saw where a flat-blade had been used to dig in the Carolina clay that we have in place of soil here. "Bricks!" he said, pointing. Indeed, with the earth cut so smoothly, it did look like bricks baking in the sun. "Brickmaking goes back a long way here, " I told him.
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A new city historic marker will be unveiled at the George H. Black House and Brickyard on Sunday, May 20, 2007, at 111 Dellabrook Road in Winston-Salem. The marker honors Black’s contribution to historic preservation. He was a nationally and internationally recognized brick maker. Up until his death in 1980 at the age of 101, George Black made bricks for Winston-Salem’s finest houses, churches, businesses, and for restorations in Old Salem and Colonial Williamsburg. The unveiling ceremony will begin at 3 p.m.

In addition, Black will be the subject of a display at the main branch of the Forsyth County Public Library, at 660 W. Fifth St.


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Black, sometimes referred to as "The Last Brickmaker in America," lived and worked on this property from 1934 until his death in 1980 at age 101. The son of a former slave, Black moved to Winston-Salem as a boy and hauled brick for a white brickmaker. He married Martha Jane Hampton in 1897, and in time had eight children. Black soon started his own brickyard and established a national and international reputation for bricks of quality and durability. As early as the 1920s Black's work was sought-after for his traditional 18th and 19th century craftsmanship and techniques. Black made an exceptionally important contribution to the 20th century by sustaining traditional handcrafting of bricks, when most brickmakers abandoned this practice for more efficient brick-making machines. In the 1940s, Black established a brickyard approximately 100 feet behind his residence, which he continued to operate until the 1970s. At the request of the State Department, in 1970, 91 year-old Black traveled to Guyana to share his age-old craft with villagers of that country.

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