It was there, I discovered a creative force that became a new revelation in my life that had laid dormant within me. A sense of purpose and direction quickly followed when researching and writing articles about our heritage for the annual Black History celebration. It was a joy to constructively brain storm on some central theme and a formidable key note speaker with committee members. My travels throughout the Metropolitan area, encompassed reaching out to poets, writers, singers, dance troops, martial arts, medical health organization and vendors. In order to present a dynamic program for the rank and file and whereby they would have a strong desire to return the following year with family and friends.
In November 1996, while viewing a PBS documentary, entitled, “Transportation in America.” I noticed there was no mention of the African American contributions. As Chairman of the Black History Committee for TWU Local 100, I felt it was my responsibility to write a research paper documenting the African American Presences in the transportation system. This is when I began to discover and uncover the extraordinary legacy of Granville T. Woods.
My mission became to have Granville T. Woods recognized and acknowledge for his significant contributions toward the New York City Transit System. After 12 years the seeds of my lengthy and continuous research has blossomed in:
- MTA sponsorship of 2004 Subway Centennial GTW Commemorative Exhibit
- 4 million GTW Commemorative Metro Cards ( 2 million were in spanish )
- 2006: Established the DLHF a 501c3 non-for-profit
organization to ensure that the legacies of minority founders of America
are not lost.
- 2008: Brooklyn Street renamed ” Granville T. Woods Way “ adjacent to Stillwell Terminal
- 2009: Figure 8, the world`s first electric roller coaster created by Woods was inducted into the Coney Island Hall of Fame
- 2010: Transit News Telly Award for GTW documentary
- 2012: GTW research was integrated at the Charles H. Wright Museum permanent hi-tech exhibition, Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology.
- 2013: Granville T. Woods: African American Communication and Transportation Pioneer, an illustrated book for young readers, highlighting Woods` struggles and achievements, was published
- 2013: I became the Founder and Coordinator for ” Meet the Scientist “. In the interest of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math within the African American community. The DLHF has collaborated
with CHWM to kick of MTS. Which showcase African American pioneers and modern day trailblazers, as well as highlight scientific, and technological projects of students from the surrounding areas.
- 2013: Became an active member of the Association on the Study of African American Life and History Detroit Chapter, established by Black History Week founder Carter G. Woodson in 1915.
- 2013: Became an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers.
- 2013: Became an active member of Engineer Society of Detroit.
- 2014: Recieved the prestigious Mary McLeod Bethune award by the CHWM . For assuring the participation of different types of mentors, student`s minds have been exposed to chemistry, robotics, information systems and more.
- 2015: Was voted in as the Chairperson of Black Historic Sites Committee, an affinity group of the Detroit Historical Society founded by Ernest C. Browne Jr. in 1971. Whose mission is to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of contributions of African Americans to the historical development of metro Detroit.
- 2016/2017: A 25,000 Grant was approved by the Michigan Humanities Council to utilize the DLHF as the fiduciary for the ” Heritage Tracking Advancement Project “. I also became the Project Director with Dr. Michelle S. Johnson, a ground breaking project to trace the progress and challenges of Michigan`s Black population from 1915 to the present. After 101 years we now will reach out to the descendants who researched, compiled and prepared the ” Michigan Manual of Freemen`s “. That was exhibited at the Lincoln Jubilee a 25 day exposition held in Chicago fifty years after the passage of the 13th Amendment.
During the next six months the project team will conduct interviews: research historical documents such as pension records and reach out to Black churches and community organization. Overall findings will be made available to the State of Michigan Historical Museum for inclusion in ” Pre 1915 Michigan Black Communities/exhibits for a New Century ” to educate the public and enhance the diversity of the state`s history.
In the spirit of Granville T. Woods and his life of inventions, Head is now spearheading a major effort to increase the participation of urban youth in the fields of science and technology. By reaching out to the private sector to play a more of a leading role by utilizing their state of the art technology within a classroom curriculum. With access, youth will be encouraged, motivated and guided in an innovative approach to contemporary challenges. Whereby careers in science and technology can be attain.
* ENGINEERS ARE NOT BORN THEY ARE TRAINED *