Blacksmiths like Solomon Williams held revered positions in America and West Africa, thanks to their knowledge, talent, and skill. Under American slavery, blacksmiths often traveled to make tools and ornamental ironwork for many plantations and towns. They carried news from the outside world and became leaders across enslaved communities. In parts of West Africa, blacksmiths were both valued and feared. Because they created something out of nothing, they were seen as holding special powers. Like potters and griots they brought new worlds into being.