Upcoming Black History Posts
  • Benjamin Banneker
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Scottsboro boys arrested
  • Benjamin Griffith Brawley
  • Harriet Ann Jacobs aka Linda Brent
  • Mary Livermore
  • Capital Savings of Washington
  • Muhammad Ali
  • George Herriman
  • Quincy Jones
  • Hazel Scott
  • John R Lynch
  • Cardiss Collins
  • Harold Washington
Categories

Roger Arliner Young

Roger Arliner Young

Roger Arliner Young

Roger Arliner Young was the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate in zoology, after years of juggling research and teaching with the burden of caring for her invalid mother. Her story is one of grit and perseverance.

Roger Arliner Young grew up in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania. In 1916, she entered Howard University. In 1921, she took her first science course, under Ernest Everett Just, a prominent black biologist and head of the zoology department at Howard. Although her grades were poor, Just saw some promise and started mentoring Young. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1923.

Her relationship with Just improved her skills, and he continued working with her. According to his biographer, Just probably chose a woman protégé because he thought men more likely to pursue lucrative careers in medicine than to remain in academe. Just helped Young find funding to attend graduate school.

In 1924 she entered the University of Chicago part-time. Her grades improved dramatically. She was asked to join Sigma Xi, an unusual honor for a master’s student. She also began publishing her research. Her first article, “On the Excretory Apparatus in Paramecium,” appeared in Science in September 1924. She obtained her master’s degree in 1926. 

Just invited Young to work with him during the summers at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, starting in 1927. Young assisted him with research on the fertilization process in marine organisms. She also worked on the processes of hydration and dehydration in living cells. Her expertise grew, and Just called her a “real genius in zoology.”

Early in 1929, Young stood in for Just as head of the Howard zoology department while Just worked on a grant project in Europe. It was the first of many trips to Europe for Just and the first of many stand-in appointments for Young. In the fall of that year, Young returned to Chicago to start a Ph.D. under the direction of Frank Lillie, the embryologist who had been Just’s mentor at Woods Hole. But she failed her qualifying exams in January 1930.

She had given little indication of stress, but the failure to qualify was devastating. She was broke and still had to care for her mother. She left and told no one her whereabouts. Lillie, deeply concerned, wrote the president of Howard about her mental condition. She eventually returned to Howard to teach and continued working at Woods Hole in the summers, but her relationship with Just cooled considerably.

Just started easing her out of her position in 1933. There had been rumors about romance between Just and Young. Various accusations were exchanged. They had a confrontation in 1935, and in 1936 she was fired, ostensibly for missing classes and mistreating lab equipment.

She took her firing as an opportunity. In June 1937, she went to the University of Pennsylvania to begin a doctorate under L. V. Heilbrunn, who had befriended her at Woods Hole and gave her the aid she needed to continue. She earned her Ph.D. in 1940.

She took an assistant professorship at the North Carolina College for Negroes in Raleigh. Unfortunately, her mental health failed again. She worked short contracts in Texas and at Jackson State College in Mississippi. While in Mississippi in the late 1950s, she was hospitalized at the State Mental Asylum. She was discharged in 1962 and she went to Southern University in New Orleans. She died, poor and alone, on November 9, 1964.

Black AMerica News

Single Mother Gets The Surprise Of A Lifetime From Her Bank [VIDEO]A 30-year-old nurse and single mother with $150,000 in student loan debt received an absolutely life-changing surprise on Wednesday. [...]

Florida Just Made It Even Harder To Prosecute Cops Who Shoot Unarmed Black PeopleThe Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously to extend the Stand Your Ground law protections to the state's police officers. [...]

Spelman College Receives Historic $30 Million DonationSpelman College just received a huge blessing! The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports the institution got a $30 million donation from Spelman trustee Ronda Stryker and her husband, William Johnston. [...]

Motorists Nab Cash Spilled By Armored Truck, Causing CrashesEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Police say an armored truck spilled cash on a New Jersey highway, causing multiple crashes as motorists stopped to grab the money. Police Capt. Phil Taormina says it looks [...]

Jury Clears Man Who Blasted ‘F*ck Tha Police’ At Cop Who Pulled Over Black DriverIt only took a Michigan jury nine minutes to clear the man who blasted N.W.A’s F*ck Tha Police at a cop who pulled over a Black driver. According to M Live, James Webb, who is a white man, stopped at [...]

Lawsuit: Police Chief Condones White Officers’ Racism, AbuseCOLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — White police officers in a Washington, D.C., suburb have used racist slurs, circulated text messages expressing a desire to “reinstitute lynching” and put a black face and Afr [...]

SC Teen Pleads Guilty To Murder In Death Of Father, 6-Year-Old BoyA 16-year-old pleaded guilty Wednesday to two charges of murder for fatally shooting his father in their home and a 6-year-old boy at the South Carolina elementary school he once attended. Jesse Osbor [...]

Barack Obama Receives RFK Human Rights Award At NYC GalaNEW YORK (AP) — Former President Barack Obama was honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award at a gala in midtown Manhattan Wednesday evening. “I’m not sure if you’ve heard, [...]

Michigan Pastor Charged With Murdering Black Trans WomanPolice are staying mum about the details and possible motive behind 36-year-old Kelly Stough's tragic shooting death. [...]

Chattanooga Cop Caught On Video Savagely Beating Handcuffed Black ManCharles Toney was beaten so severely he suffered a collapsed lung. [...]

Social Club Denies Black Applicant Who Would Have Been Their First Black MemberCHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina social club’s decision to deny membership to a doctor who would have been its first black member has prompted several local groups to cut ties with it. Militar [...]

Ex-Judges To ICE: End Immigration Arrests At CourthousesBOSTON (AP) — Dozens of retired state and federal judges called Wednesday on U.S. immigration officials to stop making arrests at courthouses of people suspected of being in the country illegally, say [...]

Magnitude 4.4 Earthquake Jolts Tennessee; Felt In AtlantaDECATUR, Tenn. (AP) — Engineers are inspecting the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Tennessee as a precaution after a magnitude 4.4 earthquake struck nearby. The U.S. Geological Survey says the earthquake s [...]

Sting Uses Fake Amazon Boxes, GPS To Catch Would-Be ThievesThe explosion in online shopping has led to porch pirates and stoop surfers swiping holiday packages from unsuspecting residents. The cops in one New Jersey city are trying to catch the thieves with s [...]

EXCLUSIVE: Bakari Henderson’s Family Looks For Justice In Greek RetrialNewly minted University of Arizona graduate Bakari Henderson, traveled to Greece in 2017 to launch his clothing line Bakari Luxury Sportswear. Instead, he was the victim of a fatal beating that left h [...]

FBI Investigates Neo-Nazis Who Stomped Black Man While Celebrating ‘Martyr’s Day’The FBI joined a hate crimes investigation of neo-Nazis who assaulted a Black DJ in Lynnwood, Washington. [...]

Nine-Year-Old Commits Suicide After Being Bullied With Racist TauntsMcKenzie Adams' grandmother found the fourth grader at their home after she hung herself on Dec 3. [...]

Apparent Grinch On Video Driving Through Christmas DisplayGREENWOOD, Ind. (AP) — An apparent Grinch was spotted on surveillance video plowing through a Christmas display outside a suburban Indianapolis home and tips are being sought to find the man. WRTV bro [...]

Vanderbilt Hires G League President Malcolm Turner As New Athletic DirectorNASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vanderbilt has hired NBA G League President Malcolm Turner as its new athletic director, opting for a business executive over candidates with experience in college athletic adm [...]

Family Of 4-Year-Old Shot Makes Effort To Change Residence LawIn May 4-year-old Sir Romeo was playing in his apartment as any child would, when suddenly gunfire broke out. “He’s just standing there and falls to his knees and falls backwards,” Loriann Milam, Sir [...]