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SharePrint John Henry: The Steel Drivin’ Man

The John Henry legend tells of the strong black worker who won a contest against a steam-powered drill during the railroad-building era of the late 19th century.

According to the legend John Henry was a steel driver. Using just a hammer and his own strong arms, he drove a steel bit deeper into the rock than the steam drill could do in the same period of time. He died of exhaustion soon afterwards, his heroic feat costing him his life. Those are the elements on which the legend is based, though there are many variations.

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