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Black History and Blacks in U.S. History
Jan Ernst Matzeliger



Jan Ernst Matzeliger
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.04

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    longed, payment, humid, traveled, tuberculosis, skilled, jobs, manufacture, stage, industry, aspect, powerful, climate, however, patent, machinist
     content words:    South America, Jan Ernst Matzeliger, Dutch Guiana, When Jan, Consolidated Lasting Machine Company, Ernst Matzeliger


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Jan Ernst Matzeliger
By Mary L. Bushong
  

1     What does the hot humid climate of Suriname, South America have in common with Lynn, Massachusetts? They have Jan Ernst Matzeliger, the man who revolutionized shoe making for the whole world.
 
2     Jan was born in Paramaribo, in what was then called Dutch Guiana, on September 15, 1852. His mother was a black native of that country, and his father was Dutch. Jan's father was a manager of machine shops, and he soon saw that his son had a great talent for working with machines. When Jan was ten years old, he was apprenticed as a machinist.
 
3     Jan was an expert machinist by the time he was nineteen, but he longed to see more of the world. He signed on as a sailor for a steam ship. For the next two years he traveled all over the world. One day, his ship docked in Philadelphia. There were factories full of machines everywhere, and Jan was sure he could get work.

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