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African-American inventors have gotten little recognition for their accomplishments Indeed it was hard to find information to even write a small report on a single one of them However although their names might not be as household as Thomas Edison that does no mean that African-American inventors have not played just as important of a role in technology in America Although we might not be able to name any African-American inventors off the top of our heads we use their inventions everyday and not even realize it The last time you took a train were you worried about it derailing or not stopping You could thank Granville T Woods for that He invented the air brake for trains the standard emergency break used today Granville T Woods was born on April 23 1856 in Columbus Ohio His parents were freed slaves and Woods himself only attended school until the age of 10 Although he stopped formal education at such a young age Mr Woods began to work on the railroad and study electronics Much of his knowledge came directly from on-the-job training He attended night school and took privet lessons in his teens to make up for the many years of lost education In 1872 at the age of 16 Woods became a fireman on the Danville and Southern Railroad in Missouri There he developed a passion for trains and dreamed of becoming a railroad engineer himself Indeed his love of trains is what fueled many of his inventions He moved around a lot in the next few years In 1876 he worked part time in a machine shop in Springfield Illinois It was here that he began to take engineering courses in an eastern college He took a job an engineer in 1878 aboard the Ironsides a British Steamer within two years he became the chief Engineer of the steamer However despite all of his experience and of his skin color he never got
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