Philip Emeagwali

Philip Emeagwali

Dr Philip Chukwurah Emeagwal, mathematician and computer scientist, was born on August 23, 1954 in Akure, a remote village in Nigera son of James and Agatha Emeagwali; He was the oldest of nine children and his father, who worked as a nurse’s aide, earned only a modest income.

As a result, at age 14, Philip was forced to drop out of school in Onitsha because his father could not continue paying the fees to keep him in school. He had shown such great promise in mathematics that his classmates nicknamed him “Calculus.â€�, his father encouraged him to continue learning at home.  (more…)

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.  (more…)

Lloyd Augustus Hall

Lloyd Augustus Hall

Lloyd August Hall

Lloyd August Hall

Born: June 20, 1894
Died: January 2, 1971
Birthplace: Elgin, Illinois
Occupation: Chemist and Inventor

Lloyd August Hall received his Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in 1914, a Master of Science from Northwestern in 1916, and a Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) from Virginia State College in 1944. Dr. Hall has served as junior and senior Sanitary Chemist of the Department of Health laboratories for the city of Chicago, Illinois from 1915 to 1919. He also served as chief chemist for John Morrel and Company of Ottuma, Illinois (1919-1921). He was President of the Chemical Products Corporation, Chicago from 1921 to 1924. Dr. Hall served as Consultant for Griffith’s Laboratories from 1925 to 1929, later as Technical Director and Chief Chemist of Griffith’s Laboratories in Chicago, Illinois from 1929 to 1946. From 1946 to 1959 Lloyd hall served as Technical Director.  (more…)

Clarence A. “Skip” Ellis

Clarence “Skip” Ellis was born in 1943 and grew up in a very poor neighborhood of the south side of Chicago. His mother struggled to raise five children by herself. Gangs and violence were common in school. Skip wasn’t one of the “cool” kids – he mostly kept to himself. At the time, he was sad because he felt excluded from so many things. Surprisingly, this helped him because he was able to avoid the gangs, violence and problems some kids in his class got into.

At 15, Skip took a job at a local company to help support his family. He was assigned the “graveyard shift,” which meant he had to work all night long. His job was to prevent break-ins and, most importantly, not to touch the company’s brand new computer! It was 1958 and computers were very expensive and not very common. Since he had lots of free time, he read the computer manuals that came with the machines. He became a self-taught computer expert. One day, there was a crisis at the company…  (more…)

Garrett Augustus Morgan

Garrett Morgan

Garrett A. Morgan (1875-1963), inventor;  born in Paris, Tenn.

Morgan developed his first invention, a belt fastener for sewing machines, in 1901, and he sold it for $150. In 1914 he won the First Grand Prize gold medal at the Second International Exposition of Sanitation and Safety for his breathing helmet and smoke protector (prototype to the gas mask).

In 1916 he demonstrated the use of this device in the rescue operation following an explosion in a tunnel at the Cleveland Waqterworks that trapped many men below Lake Erie. In 1923, Morgan developed an automatic stop sign to aid the movement of traffic, selling the rights to this invention to General Electric for $40,000.

At the Emancipation Centennial Celebration in Chicago, Illinois, in August 1963, Morgan was nationally recognized. Although in ill-health, and nearly blind, he continued to work on his inventions; one of his last was a self-extinguishing cigarette, which employed a small plastic pellet filled with water, placed just before the filter.

Charles Richard Drew

Charles Richard Drew

Illustration of Drew by Charles Alston in the collection of the National Archives

Charles Richard Drew (3 June 1904 – 1 April 1950) was an American physician, surgeon and medical researcher. He researched in the field of blood transfusions, developing improved techniques for blood storage, and applied his expert knowledge to developing large-scale blood banks early in World War II. This allowed medics to save thousands of lives of the Allied forces.

The research and development aspect of his blood storage work is disputed. As the most prominent African-American in the field, Drew protested against the practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood, as it lacked scientific foundation, an action which cost him his job. In 1943, Drew’s distinction in his profession was recognized when he became the first black surgeon selected to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.

Drew’s athletic achievements helped win him a scholarship to Amherst College in Massachusetts and he graduated in 1926. An outstanding athlete at Amherst, Drew also joined Omega Psi Phi fraternity. (more…)