When it comes to Black History there are so many strong African Americans that inspire individuals every day. African Americans share their testimonies, that even through the hardships if you truly want to be successful no one can get in your way. The person that demonstrates this for me is Granville Woods. He was the first African American mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War. His drive and determination of teaching himself the things he knows convinced me that I can become a mechanical engineer as well.
I want to follow in Granville Woods’s footsteps because, not only he was an engineer, but he was also an inventor. I learned about Mr. Woods in my senior year of high school during Black History Month. He received little schooling as a young man and took up a variety of jobs such as a railroad engineer in a machine shop, an engineer on a British ship, railroad worker, and more. Then, Woods took a two-year engineering and electrical course in 1876. After the course he understood this profession would be the key to the future. Next, Woods would begin to form ideas for what would be credited as his most important invention: the “inductor telegraph”. The device allowed people to communicate by voice over telegraph wires, ultimately helping to speed up important communications and preventing crucial errors such as train accidents. Later, Woods developed the “induction telegraph” in 1887 and was sued by Thomas Edison. Woods defeated Edison’s lawsuit that challenged his patent and turned down Edison’s offer to make him a partner. After, Woods was often known as “Black Edison”. Granville Woods is now known for more than 60 patents for inventions including the electric railroad system, automatic brake, an egg incubator, and improvements to other technologies such as the telegraph, the telephone, and phonograph. Also, his first successful patent led to some elements of the signal system currently on display at the New York Transit Museum.
Just hearing about his story and how he persevered against all odds motivated me to do the same. His story had such an impact on me that I chose mechanical engineering for my Senior Project. During this process, I did research on this type of engineering and for my project, I built an elliptical machine for my grandmother. Just building that machine was the little taste of engineering that sold me. I feel it was one of the best decisions I ever made. From all my research I completed for this project, I knew more than ever that I would enjoy every aspect of this occupation. Granville Woods opened my eyes to the world of engineering, and I hope to be known for creating an invention of my own someday.