For Immediate Release
Posted: February 14, 2022


Kim Houghton, Communications Administrator
(603) 513-3030 |

Inspiration from the real McCoy

CONCORD, NH — The New Hampshire Department of Education, in collaboration with the Woodson Center, is releasing the third of four videos in its Stories of Courage project recognizing Black History Month. 

“Only with determination and perseverance could Elijah McCoy, in 1920, overcome racial inequities and form his own manufacturing company – in the face of ongoing discrimination. His story of strength and courage is meant to inspire and motivate all children to reach for their dreams,” said Frank Edelblut, commissioner of education. “It is our hope that, during Black History Month and year-round, we continue to encourage a positive narrative and promote the many success stories that will motivate children to have high aspirations despite difficult circumstances.”

In episode three of the Stories of Courage initiative, students will learn about the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of Elijah McCoy, a famous inventor who held 57 patents, mostly on designs related to locomotives. The son of escaped slaves, McCoy overcame discrimination to become an internationally respected authority in his field, and was widely celebrated by his contemporaries as a leader and model for Black America in the first generation after Emancipation. 

“Many have heard the phrase, ‘the real McCoy,’ but they do not know the man that inspired it. In this video, which is based on our lesson about the great inventor Elijah McCoy, students can learn about his achievements amidst true structural barriers,” said Ian Rowe, a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Woodson Center, and narrator of the videos. 

The third video is available at NHDOEYouTubeChannel, and materials for its corresponding lesson plan are available at the Woodson Center website

CAPTION: Elijah McCoy founded the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Co. in 1920 after studying mechanical engineering and inventing an oil cup that automated the oiling process and increased speed for trains. (Still photograph from video produced in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Education and the Woodson Center, with assistance from independent videographer Luke Crory of New Hampshire.)