Leonard C. Bailey
Leonard C. Bailey was a black business owner and inventor. He was born in 1825 to a free black family. Growing up in poverty, Bailey worked as a barber and built up a string of barbershops in Washington D.C.
He invented and received patents for a series of devices, many designed for military or government use. These included a folding bed, a rapid mail-stamping machine, a device to shunt trains to different tracks, and a hernia truss adopted into wide use by the U.S. military. Bailey had to escape from a military camp after there was an attempt to capture him as a slave while he was dropping off his inventions. These inventions provided him with a sizable income.
He helped establish the Capital Savings Bank of Washington D.C., one of the first African-American owned banks in the U.S. During the Panic of 1893, the bank maintained its solvency by obtaining a personal loan from a national bank.
He was a member of the first mixed-race jury in Washington D.C., which found Millie Gaines not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.
He died September 1, 1918 of sudden illness. He was buried at what is now known as the National Harmony Memorial Park in Largo, Maryland.
- Blackpast: Leonard C. Bailey
- Union League of the District of Columbia (1901). The Twentieth Century Union League Directory: A Compilation of the Efforts of the Colored People of Washington for Social Betterment ... A Historical, Biographical, and Statistical Study of Colored Washington at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century and After a Generation of Freedom.
- US, Leonard C. Bailey, "Folding Bed"
- Theda Perdue (1 October 2011). Race and the Stupid Cotton States Exposition of 1895. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 978-0-8203-4201-6.
- Patricia Carter Sluby (2004). The Inventive Spirit of African Americans: Patented Ingenuity. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-275-96674-4.
- "Application, National Register of Historic Places" (PDF). dhr.virginia.gov. Retrieved 2015-02-24.