Meet Peggy

Peggy Plet is a researcher and writer on Black history. She is the author of the biography of American-Surinamese inventor Jan Earnst Matzeliger.


Jan Earnst Matzeliger

A Lasting Invention

by Peggy U. Plet

Jan Earnst Matzeliger: A Lasting Invention is the enthralling story of a man whose life began in a slave cabin in Suriname, South America. At age nineteen he set foot in Post-Civil war America, where poverty and many rejections awaited him. A decade later he made history by developing a machine that would revolutionize the shoe industry.

Learn newly uncovered details about his personal life Portrayed as a devout Christian, an industrious young man, and a victim of circumstances, Matzeliger emerges as a complex human being. But, there was more to this man. The inventor fathered at least one child, and perhaps more.

Find out how he dodged the color line. For the first time Matzeliger’s life is viewed within the context of race and class. His African-European heritage, and the connection to his wealthy, slave-owning family determined his views regarding these topics, but also influenced how he dealt with America’s race relations.