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K00783 Summary:

MLTSPNSRAnderson, Ashby, Burdick, Cunningham, Cusick, DeStefano, Englebright, Giglio JM, Glick, Hawley, Lupardo, McDonald, Mikulin, Miller B, Morinello, Simon, Stirpe, Tague, Tapia, Taylor, Thiele
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K00783 Text:

Assembly Resolution No. 783
BY: M. of A. Aubry
        CELEBRATING  the  life, legacy and Birthday of the
        late Granville T. Woods on April 23, 2022
  WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body, in  keeping  with
its  time-honored  traditions, to recognize and pay tribute to those who
seek to preserve and celebrate  the  African-American  heritage  of  our
State and Nation; and
  WHEREAS,  This  Legislative  Body  is  justly proud to celebrate the
life, legacy and Birthday of the late Granville T.  Woods  on  Saturday,
April  23,  2022,  at St. Michael's Cemetery in East Elmhurst, New York;
  WHEREAS, This momentous occasion was celebrated  with  a  dedication
performed  by  David  L. Head, a historian and advocate for Granville T.
Woods and other  Black  pioneers  of  transportation,  who  appeared  in
costume to tell the story of inventive genius and thwarted promise; and
  WHEREAS,  Granville  T.  Woods, a contemporary of Thomas Edison, was
born to free African Americans on April 23, 1856 in Columbus,  Ohio;  he
received little formal education, but enthralled by trains, he worked in
a   railroad   shop   and  learned  about  metalworking  and  mechanical
engineering; and
  WHEREAS, After working  as  a  fireman  shoveling  coal  into  steam
boilers, Granville T. Woods was promoted to engineer; he went on to hold
various engineering and industrial jobs before establishing a company to
develop electrical apparatus; and
  WHEREAS,  Known as "Black Edison" for his inventions in electricity,
Granville T.  Woods  registered  nearly  50  patents  in  his  lifetime,
including  a  telephone  transmitter,  a trolley wheel and the multiplex
telegraph; his first U.S. patent,  in  1883,  was  for  a  steam  boiler
furnace; and
  WHEREAS,  In 1893, Granville T. Woods was instrumental in developing
an Electric Railway Conduit, the third rail which  powers  our  nation's
subways;  the  electrification  of  the  Figure 8, a Coney Island roller
coaster; and a wireless communications system which decreased the number
of railroad accidents and other crucial errors; and
  WHEREAS, In 1891, Granville T. Woods moved  to  New  York  City  and
found  a  niche  for  himself as an inventor, partly through connections
with General Electric; however, his race during this time sentenced this
remarkable man to a life of struggle and he was often embroiled in court
over the rights to his patents, clearly illustrating the harsh realities
of being a Black inventor at the end of the 19th century; and
  WHEREAS, Granville T. Woods died on January 30, 1910,  in  New  York
City,  at  the age of 53; he is buried at St. Michael's Cemetery in East
Elmhurst, New York; and
  WHEREAS, In the gradual rediscovery of Black history,  Granville  T.
Woods  began  to gain much deserved recognition and respect for his many
achievements; and
  WHEREAS,  In  his  1968  book,  Where  Do  We Go From Here: Chaos or
Community?, The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. cited Granville T. Woods
as "an expert in electric motors, whose many patents speeded the  growth
and improvement at the beginning of this century"; and
  WHEREAS, P.S. 335 in Bedford Stuyvesant has been named the Granville
T.   Woods Elementary School, and Western Electric commissioned a bronze
marker for his  unmarked  grave  at  St.  Michael's  Cemetery  in  1975;
additionally,  in  2004,  for the centennial celebration of the New York
City subway system, the MTA issued four million MetroCards commemorating
Granville T. Woods; and
  WHEREAS, Furthermore, nobody has done more to promote  Granville  T.
Woods's  legacy than David L. Head, who learned about the inventor while
writing for the Transit Workers Union Black history committee; and
  WHEREAS, Throughout the course of American history, Black innovators
such as Granville T. Woods have  used  their  great  talents  to  vastly
improve  devices  and  communications for the electric railway system in
the United States; on April 23, 2022, we honor this true  pioneer  whose
purposeful life and accomplishments will forever stand as a paradigm and
inspiration for others; and
  WHEREAS,  Events  which  provide a means of preserving a part of our
rich American past and which contribute to the community in  such  noble
endeavors, are held in the highest regard by this Legislative Body; now,
therefore, be it
  RESOLVED,  That  this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
celebrate the life, legacy and Birthday of the late Granville  T.  Woods
on April 23, 2022; and be it further
  RESOLVED,  That  copies  of  this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be
transmitted to David L. Head and St. Michael's Cemetery, East  Elmhurst,
New York.
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