David Head

David Head tells the story of African-American inventor Granville T. Woods and his electric roller coaster

David Head is a retired NYC Transit worker and former chairman of the Black History Committee for TWU Local 100. Head has championed the accomplishments of Granville T. Woods (1856-1910) and has published a book and is working on a film documentary about the African-American inventor. "In a world, which is so diverse, one would expect that history be painted with a much broader brush," he said. "Too many of our African Americans have been passed over or mentioned briefly, devoid of personality, with no human sense of their unyielding dreams in the face of enormous adversity. I came across a courageous pioneer who pressed on with his dreams during a very difficult historical period of race relations. As I began to look deeper into the life of this man, I became truly amazed by his achievements."

Among Woods' many electrical patents was one for the world's first electric roller coaster, which was located in Coney Island a century ago.  Head was instrumental in having a Coney Island street across from the Stillwell Avenue Subway Terminal renamed "Granville T. Woods Way" in 2008. In the same year, the Coney Island History Project inducted Woods into the Coney Island Hall of Fame.