Granville T. Woods: ‘The Black Edison’
Granville Tailer Woods was a Black inventor who held more than 50 patents. He is also the first Black man to be a mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War. Self-taught, he concentrated most of his work on trains and streetcars
Woods's most notable invention was for a type of communication called the induction telegraph system. The system allowed moving trains to communicate, helping them avoid collisions and dangers on the tracks. It also helped dispatchers locate trains. Woods held nearly 60 patents throughout his life. Many of these inventions were for electric railways. The third rail, which uses electricity to pull trains forward, was one of his inventions and is still widely used today. Woods also improved the automatic air brake used by railroad cars.