Thomas L. Jennings


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Thomas L. Jennings was the first African American to receive a patent, which was for dry-sourcing. This led to today’s dry cleaning.

Thomas L. Jennings was the first African American person to receive a patent. On March 3, 1821, Jennings was awarded a patent for dry-sourcing, leading to today’s dry cleaning.

Before obtaining the copyright, Jennings, a free man was a tailor in his early 20’s, opened a dry cleaning service.

The patent raised a large amount of controversy, which he took advantage of, and became an abolitionist. The New York native served as the assistant secretary of the First Annual Convention of People of Color in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1831.

In 1856, Jennings died at the age of 65.