Black Women, Chemistry PioneersAfrican American women staked out careers in chemistry despite racial and gender discriminationReviewed by Sharon L. Neal
When Chemical & Engineering News asked me to write a review of “African American Women Chemists,” by Jeannette E. Brown, I qualified my acceptance: “I am biased; I want to like it,” not only because I have a vested interest in the subject matter, but because I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to bring this project to fruition.
It has been several years since I first met Brown—a retired Merck & Co. research chemist and the 2009 Glenn E. & Barbara Hodson Ullyot Scholar of the Chemical Heritage Foundation—and learned of her intention to write a book recounting the life stories of the first African American women chemists. Whenever I would see her at American Chemical Society meetings, she would mention this work and I would nod and smile.
Now I worry that while I tried to look encouraging, my skepticism about her ability to complete such a book poked through. I was skeptical not only because of the small number of African American women chemistry pioneers, but also because I doubted that their lives were sufficiently documented to support a book. I could name a few African American men who had earned Ph.D.s in chemistry and had careers of distinction before affirmative action—Percy Julian, Lloyd Ferguson, and Samuel Massie, for instance—but I couldn’t name any black women in chemistry from that time, distinguished or otherwise. As I smiled I was thinking, “A whole book on this topic is impossible. What source material can there be?”
The last time I saw Brown, she was clearly dealing with health challenges and using a scooter to get around at the ACS meeting. I was more convinced her book would remain unwritten. I should have known better, though. How could writing a book about African American women chemists be more impossible than the accomplishments that the book recounts? I should have realized that Brown’s determination to write the book taps the same well that helped drive her subjects to pursue success in science.
Keep reading: Chemical & Engineering News, April 2, 2012

Black Women, Chemistry Pioneers
African American women staked out careers in chemistry despite racial and gender discrimination
Reviewed by Sharon L. Neal

When Chemical & Engineering News asked me to write a review of “African American Women Chemists,” by Jeannette E. Brown, I qualified my acceptance: “I am biased; I want to like it,” not only because I have a vested interest in the subject matter, but because I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to bring this project to fruition.

It has been several years since I first met Brown—a retired Merck & Co. research chemist and the 2009 Glenn E. & Barbara Hodson Ullyot Scholar of the Chemical Heritage Foundation—and learned of her intention to write a book recounting the life stories of the first African American women chemists. Whenever I would see her at American Chemical Society meetings, she would mention this work and I would nod and smile.

Now I worry that while I tried to look encouraging, my skepticism about her ability to complete such a book poked through. I was skeptical not only because of the small number of African American women chemistry pioneers, but also because I doubted that their lives were sufficiently documented to support a book. I could name a few African American men who had earned Ph.D.s in chemistry and had careers of distinction before affirmative action—Percy Julian, Lloyd Ferguson, and Samuel Massie, for instance—but I couldn’t name any black women in chemistry from that time, distinguished or otherwise. As I smiled I was thinking, “A whole book on this topic is impossible. What source material can there be?”

The last time I saw Brown, she was clearly dealing with health challenges and using a scooter to get around at the ACS meeting. I was more convinced her book would remain unwritten. I should have known better, though. How could writing a book about African American women chemists be more impossible than the accomplishments that the book recounts? I should have realized that Brown’s determination to write the book taps the same well that helped drive her subjects to pursue success in science.

Keep reading: Chemical & Engineering News, April 2, 2012

Notes

  1. wordlessexpressions reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  2. freejita reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  3. thesurrealappeal reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  4. cherrydead777 reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  5. kindness330 reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  6. biggerontheoutside reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  7. starstufflady reblogged this from smilesandvials
  8. llcnsnnts reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  9. spnkilledmysociallife reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  10. cibosan reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  11. optimusdoctoris reblogged this from alphahelices
  12. alphahelices reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  13. daleksneedhugs reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  14. all-the-world-s-a-stage reblogged this from astrotastic
  15. the-electric-boogaloo reblogged this from astrotastic
  16. theskimminestfeminist reblogged this from blackboxoffice
  17. kadytheredpanda reblogged this from katelikeskittens
  18. afrknjewel reblogged this from blackboxoffice
  19. katelikeskittens reblogged this from spaceadmiraldee
  20. troyminos reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  21. blackboxoffice reblogged this from cenwatchglass and added:
    Black Women, Chemistry Pioneers African American women staked out careers in chemistry despite racial and gender...
  22. absentandcounting reblogged this from stephscience
  23. do-nothing reblogged this from cenwatchglass
  24. stephscience reblogged this from smilesandvials
  25. absinthiumlacunae reblogged this from astrotastic