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Leslie Alexander

as a free man. There is some dispute about the exact year of his birth. Census data indicates he was born in 1800, while his death certificate states that he was born in 1791. However, the timeline of his activism supports the evidence that Jennings was born in 1791, since it appears he had reached adulthood by 1810. Nothing is known about his parents or his early life, but by 1820 he had married an emancipated woman named Elizabeth (maiden name unknown, 1798–1873) and was making his living as a tailor. On 3 March 1821 Jennings became the first black man in the United States to hold a patent after he created an innovative dry cleaning process called dry scouring which earned him a substantial income His wife Elizabeth also was a committed abolitionist who played a central role in the formation of the ...