Habari Gani is Swahili for: “What’s the news?”
The NEWS for you is: EMPOWERMENT.
Here’s your EMPOWERMENT LESSON for the week of April 22:
This Week’s Black History Icon: 5 Things To Know About Percy L. Julian
In ADDITION to being a PIONEER in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants, Dr. Percy Lavon Julian had ALSO:
- Become the SECOND African American in any field to be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences
- Received more than 130 chemical patents in his lifetime
- Graduated Phi Beta Kappa and valedictorian from De Pauw University (1920), in spite of the racial discrimination he faced during that time
- Earned his PhD from the University of Vienna via a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship
- Invented Aero-Foam (a lightweight foam suitable for thermal insulation)
Extra tidbits: Dr. Julian’s work laid the foundation for the steroid drug industry’s production of cortisone, corticosteroids, and birth control pills. Julian initially received an Austin Fellowship in Chemistry and went to Harvard to study, but his teaching assistantship was later withdrawn over the university’s concerns white students would resent being taught by an African American instructor. In 1935, Dr. Julian earned an international reputation by synthesizing physostigmine from the Calabar bean to create a drug treatment for glaucoma. In 1999, Julian was elected to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.