The African continent is the most incredible region in the world, especially its people. Let us call it the Black Excellence, though many in the past did not recognize the Excellence of black people as they do today. The black artists, particularly Beyonce, Burna Boy, and Jay-Z, portray the Black Excellence aspect in their works or arts. Africa is excellent in many ways, but for today, we will focus mainly on inventions connected to ‘Africanness’ or blackness. Black inventors and inventions can generate great wealth. Recently, the African Diaspora invented an African currency called the Lumi currency, which will help Africans and African governments. The Lumi will help eliminate the African debts and develop the content in many ways (technologically and economically).
During slavery, the most inhumane act in African history, the foreigners did not pay attention or ignored the presence of black inventors, especially those who were slaves. The white people, even today, ridiculed the intelligence of the Africans. According to history, Henry Baker, an African-American, was vocal or loud about public ignorance concerning black inventors.
Due to these inventions, we might say that the Africans have significantly contributed several things to the rest of the globe and not just Africa. Most civilizations that we learn in history have a connection to the African people or African ancestry. The black people, particularly in the American region, contributed significantly to the field of Science. However, some people viewed that contribution as a joke. I wonder why the foreigners never respected or gave credit to black contribution to Science. The world revolves around Science and its subjects such as physics and chemistry. But what exactly is Science, and what is the relevance or significance of its principal subjects to the world.
Science, whose roots can be traced to Ancient Egypt (an aspect showing how great Africa is), is a systematic enterprise that creates or builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world or the universe. Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its movement or motion and behavior through space and time, and the related entities of force and energy. On the other hand, chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with compounds and elements comprising atoms, ions, and molecules. Their structure, properties, composition, behavior, and the changes they undergo during a reaction with different substances. The fundamental discipline of Science, Physics, helps us understand or comprehend how the entire universe works or behaves.
Physics is also useful because it gives foundational information or knowledge in electrical circuits, mechanics, energy, material science, and other robotics’ main topics. Robots are vital to the modern-day world as they assume every function that a human being can perform. According to research, pop culture is the one that is into robots and robotics. Chemistry is significant to the world because everything we do is all about chemistry. We can understand the chemical reactions in our bodies because of Chemistry.
Brief Description of Racism
Racism is an individual’s, community’s, or institution’s discrimination, prejudice, or antagonism against a person or people based on their association of a particular ethnic or racial group, typically one that’s a minority or insignificant. The history of racism is quite long, but many people link the act with America. The American region is infamous for its many cases related to racism. Presently, there are still rising cases of racism in America. Racism has adverse effects on an individual. The effects include low morale and low self-esteem, which can affect the overall well-being of a person.
It is true that the ‘superior race,’ the white race, has socially and economically ostracized the black race or the black people, particularly black inventors. For that case, we will discuss Granville Woods, an African-American inventor, who was a victim of racism against black inventors. Before we proceed to Woods, it is vital to know who Henry Baker was.
Who is Henry E. Baker?
Henry Edwin Baker was the 3rd African-American to join the United States Naval Academy. Later, he served as an assistant patent examiner in the United States Patent Office, where he would record the history of African-American inventors or black inventors. Henry Baker was born on September 1st, 1857, in Columbia (Mississippi) and went to the Columbus Union Academy. He got an appointment at the Naval Academy but encountered racial darkening. After two years, he transferred and finished his education at the Ben-Hyde Benton School of Tech in the District of Columbia (Washington D.C), graduating in 1879.
Edwin Barker went into law, graduating in 1881 from Howard University School of Law, a black college, at the top of his class. He also finished post-graduate work there in the late 19th century (1883).
About Granville Woods
Granville Tailer Woods was an inventor who possessed over 55 patents in the United States. He was the 1st African-American electrical and mechanical engineer after the Civil War. Self-taught, Granville Woods focused most of his works on streetcars and trains. One of Woods’ famous or notable inventions was a device Granville called the Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph, a variation of induction telegraph which depended on ambient static electricity from existing telegraph lines to send information or messages between train stations and moving trains. Tailer’s work assured a better and safer public transportation system for the cities of the U.S.
Early Life of Granville T. Woods
Granville Tailer Woods was born (April 23rd, 1856) to Cyrus Woods and Martha J. Brown. He had a sibling brother called Lyates. His mum was part Native American and his dad was a black American or an African-American. Granville Woods attended school in Columbus until age ten. Still, they had to drop out because of his family’s financial status, which at the time, according to sources, was poor, and this meant Granville needed to work to survive.
Woods served an apprenticeship in a machine shop and learned the trades of blacksmith and machinist. According to sources of his day, Granville Woods achieved two years (1876 to 1878) of college-level training in engineering (electrical engineering and mechanical engineering). Still, people know little about where he might have studied. Granville Woods was married to Ada Woods, whom the court granted a divorce from him in the late 19th century (1891) because of adultery.
Granville Woods’ Career Life
In 1872, Granville Woods got a job as a fireman on the Danville and Southern Railroad in Missouri. Two years later, Woods moved to Springfield (Illinois) and worked at a rolling mill (the Springfield Iron Works). In 1878, Woods took a job aboard the steamer Ironsides, and within two years, he became Chief Engineer. When he returned to Ohio, he became an engineer with the Dayton and South Western Railroad in Ohio’s southwestern region. In 1880, he moved to Cincinnati (Ohio) and formed his enterprise or business as an electrical engineer and an inventor.
After getting the Multiplex Telegraph patent, he re-organized his Cincinnati firm as the Woods Electric Company. In 1892, he moved his research operations to New York City, where his brother, Lyates Woods, joined him.
The Inventions of Granville Woods
Granville created and patented Tunnel Construction for the electric railroad system, and some referred to him as the ‘Black Edison.’ Woods got patents for inventions, including an egg incubator, an automatic brake, and enhancements to other technologies such as the safety circuit, the telephone, the telegraph, and phonograph. In 1884, Granville got his 1st patent for a steam boiler furnace, and in the next year (1885), Granville patented an apparatus which was a combination of a telegraph and a telephone. The device would permit a telegraph station to send telegraph and voice messages via Morse Code over a wire. He sold the rights to this device to the American Bell Telephone Company. In 1887, he patented the Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph, which permitted communications between train posts from moving trains by forming a magnetic field around a coiled wire under the train.
In 1896, Granville Woods invented a system for controlling electrical lights in theaters called the safety dimmer, which was safe, economical, and efficient (saved more than 35% of electricity use). At times, people credit Granville Woods with the creation of the air brake for trains in the early 20th century (1904). However, George Westinghouse patented the air brake almost four decades before, making Granville’s contribution an enhancement or improvement to the invention.
Death and Legacy of Granville Woods
Granville Woods died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Harlem Hospital in New York City on January 30th, 1910, having sold several devices to such firms as General Electric, Westinghouse, and American Engineering.
The Baltimore City Community College established the Granville Woods scholarship in memory of the great inventor. In 2004, the New York City Transit Authority planned a show or exhibition on Granville Woods, which used train and bus depots and an issue of four million Metro Cards celebrating the inventor’s successes in pioneering the Third Rail.
In conclusion, I might say that Granville Woods is a testament to black intellect. Though Granville Woods did not shine as per expectations during his times, he was a black champion and a star. He is a true definition of Black Excellence.