North Star: Minnesota's Black Pioneers airs tonight on tpt-2. I'm so proud to have worked on this, and to know visionary documentary filmmaker Dan Bergin. I was at a special screening for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and was in awe of their reaction. I can only imagine what it must feel like to have your forgotten history unearthed, to hear stories of those that walked before you on the same streets.

Star Tribune editorial

September 22, 2004 at 02:46 PM in Film, Local, Television | Permalink


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Unfortunately, the TPT website (and the TV program also?) repeats the widespread myths about Fred Jones inventing the "first" refrigerated truck and thus giving birth to the refrigerated transportation industry. Here is an excerpt:

when Fred's boss Joe Numero asked him to build the world's first refrigerated truck in less than 30 days, he rose to the challenge, making it possible to deliver perishable grocery items nationwide, year-round.

Neither claim is accurate. Trucks with mechanically refrigerated cargo spaces appeared on the roads at least as early as the late 1920s, roughly a decade before Jones built his first unit. Refrigerated ships and railcars are even older, having delivered perishable items year-round even before Jones was born. Even Jones's patent count, "over 60" according to the TPT and other websites, appears to have been exaggerated by more than double (the espacenet worldwide patent database lists only 24 patents for Jones).

To say all this in no way detracts from Jones's actual accomplishments, which would be impressive enough if allowed to stand on their own.

Posted by: Ian at Sep 23, 2004 10:43:42 PM

Well! I sure had no idea. I passed your comment on to the producers. Thanks for your expertise and/or research.

Posted by: Chuck at Sep 23, 2004 11:22:26 PM