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Lucean Arthur HeadenThe Making of a Black Inventor and Entrepreneur$
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Jill D. Snider

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469654355

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469654355.001.0001

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A Dream Finds Allies

A Dream Finds Allies

(p.60) Chapter Five A Dream Finds Allies
Lucean Arthur Headen

Jill D. Snider

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter 5 examines Headen’s embrace of Henry Wood’s coalition strategy, exploring how he adapted Wood’s model to promote an anti-submarine device he invented during World War I. To promote the device, which refracted light to render submarine chasers invisible, Headen assembled a broad interracial coalition that drew from Chicago’s business, religious, entertainment, political, and academic communities. Included were individuals as diverse as Robert R. McCormick of the Chicago Tribune, for whom Headen worked as a chauffeur; philanthropists Nettie Fowler McCormick and Julius Rosenwald; black orchestra leader Joe Jordan; white banker George Liebrandt; University of Chicago professor Harvey Lemon; white patent lawyer Wilmot C. Hawkins; black minister Archibald J. Carey; and later Golden Gate Bridge constructor Joseph B. Strauss. The chapter documents how this coalition secured an audience for Headen with the U.S. Naval Consulting Board and the British Admiralty’s Board of Invention and Research (after 1918 the Department of Experimental Research, or DER). It also describes subsequent work Headen completed for the British Shipping Ministry, the positive assessment of his device by the DER, and the project’s languishing upon the war’s sudden end.

Keywords:   anti-submarine devices, Board of Invention and Research, British Shipping Ministry, chauffeurs, Department of Experimental Research, interracial coalitions, Naval Consulting Board, Robert R. McCormick, submarine chasers

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