Babe Sowers was a brick-layin’ man

“[John D. Rockefeller Jr.] did not feel satisfied with the quality of red bricks being made for the reconstructions and restorations [at Colonial Williamsburg] until his staff found, by serendipity, Babe Sowers, a black man who still molded bricks by hand on a farm near Winston-Salem, North Carolina, just as his great-great-grandfather and everyone in between had done.

“Babe Sowers became a hero to the Rockefeller purists. He could mold 12 bricks a minute, or 4,000 per day. John Henry, move over and make way for Babe Sowers, a man whose legendary efforts were witnessed and documented.”

— From “Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture” by Michael Kammen (1991)