The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Ray F. Wilson

Chemistry professor, construction entrepreneur, and lawyer Ray Floyd Wilson was born on February 20, 1926, in Giddings, Texas to Beulah and Fred Wilson. As a young boy, Wilson worked with his family in the fields and with the livestock while going to school. Wilson was drafted by the U.S. Navy in 1944, before he could attend college. He went to submarine school and served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. While in the Navy, Wilson achieved the rank of petty officer third class. After graduating with his B.S. degree in chemistry and math from Samuel Huston College in 1950, Wilson was awarded his M.S. degree in chemistry and math in 1951 from Texas Southern University (TSU). Subsequent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1950 decision in Sweatt v. Painter, Wilson was the first African American student to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry and math from the University of Texas at Austin in 1953.

After he received his Ph.D., Wilson joined the TSU Faculty in Houston as an associate professor of chemistry. Rising to the rank of full professor in only four years, Wilson continued to teach at TSU for forty-two years, turning down various offers from other universities and research centers. Wilson authored eighty-three different articles that have appeared in national or international scientific journals. He has been a longtime member and president of the TSU chapter of the Texas Association of College Teachers, and mentored many students.

While working as a professor, Wilson started working as a part-time real estate broker in the 1960s. By the 1970s, he owned and operated his own contracting company and was awarded many major public works contracts in Houston over a period of three decades. In 1972, Wilson received his J.D. degree from TSU, graduating with the highest GPA in the school’s history. Wilson used his degree to do pro bono work for his church, his community and his own interests. After moving to Houston, Wilson was an active member of the Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ where he oversaw the Sunday school and church credit union.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Wilson served as a Congressional Counselor to the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, the first African American female from a southern state to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Congressman Mickey Leland. Wilson retired from TSU in 1999.

Ray Floyd Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 11, 2007.

Wilson passed away on June 10, 2015.

Accession Number

A2007.232

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/11/2007

Last Name

Wilson

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

F.

Schools

Texas Southern University

Huston-Tillotson University

University of Texas at Austin

Giddings Colored High School

First Name

Ray

Birth City, State, Country

Giddings

HM ID

WIL41

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

If You Don't Work, You'll Steal.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

2/20/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Death Date

6/10/2015

Short Description

Construction entrepreneur and chemistry professor Ray F. Wilson (1926 - 2015 ) taught chemistry at Texas Southern University for forty-two years, and was the first African American student to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry and math from the University of Texas at Austin. He owned and operated his own building contractor company, and did pro bono work for his church and community after earning his J.D. degree.

Employment

United States Navy

Texas Southern University

Various

Five Eleven Home Repair, Inc.

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:770,25:1155,31:11943,251:12369,258:19570,350:23200,383:52410,649:53850,673:72380,880:92745,982:94170,1012:94470,1017:108356,1107:116302,1206:129015,1350:130884,1395:132397,1424:133287,1433:155026,1614:182829,1783:183081,1788:198260,1945:207798,2013:234457,2308:235900,2328$0,0:3174,58:12600,197:19636,287:28132,404:36932,752:101790,1421:102924,1435:131278,1666:134947,1771:135829,1778:138328,1837:145801,1923:158680,2033:159226,2041:159694,2048:160708,2068:177928,2330:178240,2335:181126,2426:185990,2460:189290,2485:195500,2573:199090,2584:201014,2598:203340,2665
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ray F. Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ray F. Wilson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ray F. Wilson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ray F. Wilson talks about the cowboys of Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ray F. Wilson remembers his paternal great-aunt, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ray F. Wilson remembers his paternal great-aunt, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ray F. Wilson describes his mother's education and activities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ray F. Wilson describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ray F. Wilson describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ray F. Wilson recalls his experiences of discrimination at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ray F. Wilson describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ray F. Wilson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ray F. Wilson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ray F. Wilson describes the Jim Crow laws in Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ray F. Wilson talks about Superintendent David Everett

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ray F. Wilson remembers picking cotton

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ray F. Wilson describes his grade school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ray F. Wilson remembers Giddings Colored High School in Giddings, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ray F. Wilson remembers being drafted into the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ray F. Wilson recalls his role as a U.S. Navy steward in World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ray F. Wilson talks about his success as a gambler

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ray F. Wilson talks about his higher education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ray F. Wilson describes his experiences at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ray F. Wilson remembers joining the faculty of Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ray F. Wilson talks about his career in real estate

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ray F. Wilson remembers teaching at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ray F. Wilson talks about his chemistry research

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ray F. Wilson reflects upon his research methods

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ray F. Wilson talks about his work as a government contractor

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ray F. Wilson describes his career in real estate and construction

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ray F. Wilson describes his other academic interests while a professor of chemistry

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ray F. Wilson recalls his students at Texas Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ray F. Wilson describes opportunities at Texas Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ray F. Wilson talks about his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ray F. Wilson remembers U.S. Representatives Barbara Jordan and Mickey Leland

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ray F. Wilson talks about the Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ in Houston, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ray F. Wilson describes his home in Houston, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ray F. Wilson reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ray F. Wilson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ray F. Wilson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ray F. Wilson describes his advice to African American youth

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ray F. Wilson reflects upon his career

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ray F. Wilson describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ray F. Wilson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
Ray F. Wilson talks about the cowboys of Texas
Ray F. Wilson remembers picking cotton
Transcript
I don't know, you're the first person in Houston [Texas] I've asked this question of, but I'm kind of surprised as I sit here it became, I just had the realization that nobody that I've interviewed has grown up in Houston or in Texas this week that's talked about black cowboys at all. Is--were there any--was there any such thing as a black cowboy when you were growing up or when your mother [Beulah McCloud Wilson] was growing up, did she ever talk about it?$$We didn't talk about cowboys as such, but horses and mules were indispensable--was an indispensable part of the environment. Transportation, you either walked and but if you had to go several miles you go by horseback. If you had a load, everybody had a wagon and so you hooked the mules up--a doubletree, you used two mules and use a doubletree, hook them up and so cotton and so forth, you carry it in a wagon.$$Carry it to market in town?$$Yes, wagon. And one wagon would carry a bale of cotton easily. So, and then you would have a buggy. Some people had--if you, an average person in the community you had a buggy, and a buggy you'd have one or two horses, sometime one horse. And the buggy you'd go to and fro and the horse would just kind of at a trot, and so that was a fast way of transportation, five or ten miles an hour, rather than walking, you would be traveling at three to four miles an hour, unless you're a real professional walker you could do four or five miles an hour. So that was from place to place, wagon and you ride--a saddle--in the family you'd have one or two saddles and people would go by horseback. But black people didn't call it cowboys much, they called it a mode of transportation. Cowboy was something you looked at as white people being a cowboy.$$I think I've talked to some Mexicans or Mexican Americans that actually call white people the cowboys, that's what they call them.$$Even the songs, we kind of looked around on the left side, cowboys were really signified white people only. And so, and blacks would ride those horses, but they'd ride them without saddles, break them and so forth. Yes, I mean, they would ride, but we didn't look at them as cowboys, at least in my community we didn't. But we would ride, crawl up on that horse with no saddle or anything and ride them until the world looked little.$And we'd grow up on a cotton pick, and there was only two persons that could out pick me, I was eleven years old, was Cotton Picking Red and my oldest brother. So we would--we would do all of our crops and finish them and then go up on a cotton pick and so forth. And I enjoyed, yeah, three, Cotton Picking Red, my oldest brother [Freddy Wilson], and a mechanical cotton picker, those are the only two that could.$$(Laughter) Now, who was Cotton Picking Red, you haven't tell us about him?$$He was a fellow who wen the whole season, he'd start down south, Corpus Christi [Texas], and pick cotton. And they'd pick cotton and go out west, and then on the day before Christmas, they come home and they'd been picking cotton over half of the year. And that was his profession. And so (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Did he have red hair, was he really--really that (unclear)?$$He was kind of red, you know, because he was not black like me and he wasn't white like the plantation owner, but yeah, but he could go and that's all he did was. And I would--I could pick half a bale, I was at Huston-Tillotson [Samuel Huston College; Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, Texas] working on my bachelor's [degree] and they had just nine weeks summer. I'd get out and leave and go to Rosebud [Texas], and pick cotton and I'd get out there early, six o'clock, by eleven I'd have eleven hundred pounds. I enjoy--I got a ranch here and then three in--I got a tractor and our ranch--I sold a lot of my cattle because too much work. You see how we had stuff stacked then, helping people in the community.$$So is there a secret to picking cotton that fast?$$I had a brother that could hardly pick, stand up in the field and--he could hardly pick fifty pounds on a day. I picked eleven hundred and get out there at six. Eleven o'clock I'd have that big long sack and I could just pick that--this--that cotton. It's just all over that stalk.$$Is there a secret to it, do you have to do something special to be able to pick that fast?$$It's nothing secret about it, it's just working your fingers and you're moving and so forth, and some people don't take the cotton and put it all back there. You take your--knock it open like that and you see it, it's like swimming or anything.$$Okay, so you develop a motion for it.$$Right. I could pick three rows, I'm so fast that I'd be walking straddled this one and I'd pick that cotton on this one and just be walking with that long sack. I was a little fellow, I'd almost need somebody to help me pull it up on that be- you know them boards. A hundred fifty pounds, I need to crawl up every--it would be hard for me to empty.

Thomas W. Cole

Thomas Winston Cole, Jr. was born the second of four children to Eva and Thomas W. Cole, Sr. on January 11, 1941, in Vernon, Texas. The Cole family moved to Marshall, Texas, where his father was appointed President of Wiley College from 1958 to 1971. During his childhood, Cole attended public school and was an active Eagle Scout.

Cole graduated from high school in 1958 and attended Wiley College where he was active in the Kappa Chi and Alpha Kappa Mu Honor societies. Graduating summa cum laude from Wiley College in 1961, Cole received his B.S. degree and the Southern Regional Fellowship. Cole attended the University of Chicago and earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1966; it was here that he studied with P.E. Eaton and they became the first chemists to synthesize the Cubane Carbon Skeleton System.

Cole began his professional career in 1966 as an assistant professor at the Atlanta University Center, in Atlanta, Georgia. During his tenure, Cole would serve as chairman of the department of chemistry between 1970 and 1979; the Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Chemistry between 1969 and 1979; Chair of the Atlanta University Center chemistry department; and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs between 1979 and 1982. Cole also worked as a research scientist for Procter & Gamble and the Celanese Fiber Company. From 1982 to 1986, Cole was president of West Virginia State College. Following his presidency, Cole was appointed Chancellor of the West Virginia Board of Regents, one of four African Americans to head a state system of public higher education.

Cole returned to Atlanta to accept a position as president of Clark College in 1988, and led the oversight and planning for the consolidation of Clark College and Atlanta University. Cole served simultaneously as president of both institutions during the 1988-1989 academic years until his appointment as President of Clark Atlanta University in 1989. Cole continued to serve as president until 2002.

After retirement, Cole lived in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Brenda.

Accession Number

A2006.173

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/15/2006

Last Name

Cole

Maker Category
Middle Name

W.

Schools

Wiley College

University of Chicago

H.B. Pemberton High School

First Name

Thomas

Birth City, State, Country

Vernon

HM ID

COL11

Favorite Season

None

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

It Is Amazing What You Can Accomplish If It Doesn't Matter Who Gets The Credit.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

1/11/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

University president and chemistry professor Thomas W. Cole (1941 - ) was the president of Clark Atlanta University, whose formation from Clark and Atlanta Universities he oversaw. He was also president of West Virginia State College, Chancellor of the West Virginia Board of Regents, and a professor of chemistry at the former Atlanta University.

Employment

Atlanta University

West Virginia State College

West Virginia Board of Regents

Clark Atlanta University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:231,4:4697,189:5005,194:11474,287:12226,296:12602,301:12978,306:13448,313:14858,327:23668,428:28996,492:31290,542:31808,558:32104,590:37668,661:38244,672:38748,680:39396,689:39828,696:40476,712:41340,731:44508,780:64569,957:66395,990:66727,995:67225,1002:73950,1071:84264,1266:99830,1516$0,0:390,3:1950,24:2340,30:5070,143:5538,150:12010,199:14506,244:36068,662:40312,675:41896,713:50994,812:82220,1182:86305,1275:92434,1353:102108,1457:107402,1540:119630,1701:127430,1782:129530,1824:140492,1941:140927,1947:141797,1958:143537,1987:143885,1992:150272,2053:154088,2142:159184,2216:159500,2221:159816,2226:160369,2234:162890,2290:167016,2361:179258,2550:179832,2558:180160,2563:182374,2591:185490,2646:187704,2689:201970,2800:202390,2807:202810,2815:207634,2835:218836,2957:227990,3190:232294,3283:240290,3370:241050,3377
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas W. Cole's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thomas W. Cole lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thomas W. Cole remembers his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thomas W. Cole describes his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thomas W. Cole describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thomas W. Cole describes his father, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thomas W. Cole describes his father, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thomas W. Cole lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thomas W. Cole describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Thomas W. Cole explains his family's move to Bryan, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Thomas W. Cole remembers Washington Elementary School in Bryan, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Thomas W. Cole remembers his elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thomas W. Cole describes his father's approach to civil rights

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thomas W. Cole remembers Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his high school band

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thomas W. Cole remembers H.B. Pemberton High School in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his participation in the Boy Scouts

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thomas W. Cole remembers segregation in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his decision to attend Wiley College in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thomas W. Cole remembers pledging Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thomas W. Cole recalls the student protests at Wiley College

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Thomas W. Cole remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Thomas W. Cole recalls leaving the University of Texas in Austin, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Thomas W. Cole describes his studies at the University of Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thomas W. Cole explains the significance of his cubane research

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thomas W. Cole remembers President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thomas W. Cole remembers teaching at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thomas W. Cole remembers working for Procter and Gamble Company

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thomas W. Cole recalls becoming the Fuller E. Callaway Professor at Atlanta University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thomas W. Cole describes his students at Atlanta University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thomas W. Cole remembers the Vietnam War draft

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thomas W. Cole remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Thomas W. Cole remembers working with the Atlanta Public Schools

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his sabbatical at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Thomas W. Cole remembers working for Celanese Fibers Company

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thomas W. Cole recalls teaching at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thomas W. Cole remembers his National Science Foundation grant

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thomas W. Cole describes his programs in the Atlanta Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thomas W. Cole recalls serving as provost of Atlanta University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his presidency of West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thomas W. Cole remembers his delegation to China

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his chancellorship of the West Virginia Board of Regents

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Thomas W. Cole remembers his consideration as a gubernatorial candidate

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Thomas W. Cole recalls his decision to leave West Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thomas W. Cole recalls consolidating Clark College and Atlanta University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thomas W. Cole describes the details of the Clark Atlanta University merger

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thomas W. Cole remembers funding changes at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thomas W. Cole describes his international outreach for Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thomas W. Cole talks about Great Schools Atlanta

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thomas W. Cole describes Project Kaleidoscope

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thomas W. Cole reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thomas W. Cole describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Thomas W. Cole describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Thomas W. Cole reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

10$1

DATitle
Thomas W. Cole remembers meeting his wife
Thomas W. Cole recalls consolidating Clark College and Atlanta University
Transcript
You also said that you met your wife on the campus [of Wiley College, Marshall, Texas]?$$No, I met my wife in high school [H.B. Pemberton High School, Marshall, Texas].$$Oh, you met her in high school?$$I met my wife in high school.$$Oh, okay.$$It's an interesting story. In our day the teachers from East Texas, which is that part of Texas I grew up in and Marshall [Texas] is in, would meet for the annual conference of black teachers. And one of the highlights of the meeting would be an all-star band. And they would invite band members from all of the high schools, and two from this school, three from this, and four from this and then they would, there would be a special director either from one of the colleges who would come in and direct us into performing during the last evening of the, of their conference. And so, my wife played clarinet as well, and so at that time, that's where I met. She and I sat next to each other and so what was a relationship that started out in high school just developed over time. She was two years behind me and so every, every, Easter break when we would meet, I would look forward to that 'cause I'd get a chance to see her. But that's how we met, she lived in a different city and so--and she went to a different college, but we maintained connections and eventually, eventually married in 1964.$$What is your wife's name?$$Her name is Brenda [HistoryMaker Brenda H. Cole].$$And what school did she go to?$$She went to Spelman [Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia].$So what happened if you would come and be president of Clark [Clark College; Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia]?$$Well, y- you know I really thought after considering the pros and cons that this the job that I was called to do. I had been at Atlanta University [Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia], Clark College was a United Methodist religious school, I'm a lifelong United Methodist. Having been in the AUC Center [Atlanta University Center; Atlanta University Center Consortium, Atlanta, Georgia], I knew half of the faculty at Clark College anyway and I knew them at Atlanta University. I had been president of a school, chancellor of a system, what better opportunity now to take all of that and use it to, to create a new university. And that's in fact how we saw it. Though we knew that Atlanta University needed something, an infusion of, of money or restructuring to, to survive, Clark College was, was constricted in terms of its development. It was landlocked, couldn't do anything really beyond what it was doing. Both schools were without a president so if there was a time to bring them together this was it. The only time. And after having lost a lot of sleep and deliberated and consulted with a lot of people, I finally decided in September of '87 [1987] to, to accept the assignment. Because, if it's gonna happen, I thought it was a, a situation whose time had come. There had been a lot of prior attempts to bring the schools in the Atlanta University Center together, none of them had been successful. In fact, the word was you are not gonna be able to do, and so, being a known entity to Atlanta University and being--having been president of Clark College at the time meant I could bring a little bit of both to the conversation that would, that would eventually lead to consolidation. And so for four months I commuted from West Virginia to Atlanta [Georgia] meeting privately with the board members to orchestrate, if you will, to talk about how do you pull this off. And so by December--between September and December then word was already out that I was coming as president of Clark College and that there is talk--they had a press conference and said that they were talking about bringing the schools together, but really between September and October we had worked it out. The chairs of both boards wanted to do it and so it was really just a matter now of dotting the I's and crossing the Ts and making sure that people who needed to know knew. So they created committees and the usual process like that and deliberated on the issues, the academic issues, the financial issues, the alumni issues, the student issues, and all that. And between January and March of 1988, we decided, or the committee actually decided with my--in--I was really kind of like the, the staff person to the committee. The committee decided on a name, decided on a mascot, decided on, on a motto, decided on all of that because the atmosphere among the members of the committee representing both schools was we wanna make this work. The question is how do we make it work? We know who the president's gonna be so that's a non-issue. Getting the name may be an issue, some of the--where people will end up might be an issue but we'll just have to work that out. And between--in that three-month period they had decided, went public.

Isiah M. Warner

Chemistry professor and research chemist, Isiah M. Warner was born in DeQuincy, Louisiana, on July 20, 1946 to Humphrey and Erma Warner. He developed an interest in science and mathematics early on and conducted his first experiment by drinking kerosene to see why it created light. Warner graduated as valedictorian of his class from Bunkie, Louisiana's Carver High School in 1964. Warner's interest in chemistry was ignited after participating in a summer program at Southern University in Baton Rouge during high school. He went on to earn his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1968 from the same intuition, and went to work as a technician for Battelle Northwest, a private company in the state of Washington that contracted with the Atomic Energy Commission. Warner earned his Ph.D. degree in analytical chemistry from the University of Washington in 1977.

From 1977 to 1982, Warner served as assistant professor of chemistry at Texas A&M University. He was the first African American on the chemistry faculty there. After five years, he achieved tenure and was promoted to associate professor. While at Texas A&M, he researched fluorescent spectroscopy. Warner then joined the faculty at Emory University where he was promoted to full professor in 1986. He served as the Samuel Candler Dobbs professor of chemistry from 1987 until 1992. During the 1988-89 academic year, Warner went on leave to the National Science Foundation where he served as program officer for analytical and surface chemistry. In 1992, Warner joined the faculty at Louisiana State University as the Philip W. West Professor of analytical and environmental chemistry and was promoted to chair of the chemistry department, vice-chancellor for strategic initiatives, and Boyd professor. At LSU, Warner focused his research on chiral drugs and natural drug derivatives.

Throughout his career, Warner published over 230 articles in revered journals, has given hundreds of presentations, and is the holder of five patents. In addition to his own speaking and publishing activities, Warner has chaired over thirty doctoral theses and mentored many students. Warner’s awards included the CASE Louisiana Teacher of the Year Award in 2000; the 2000 LSU Distinguished Faculty Award; and the 1997 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from President Clinton.

Isiah M. Warner and his wife, Della Blount Warner have three children, Isiah, Jr., Edward and Chideha.

Accession Number

A2004.227

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/5/2004

Last Name

Warner

Middle Name

M.

Schools

George Washington Carver Elementary School

George Washington Carver High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Washington State University Tri-Cities

University of Washington

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Isiah

Birth City, State, Country

DeQuincy

HM ID

WAR07

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa; Europe

Favorite Quote

I Am Isiah Warner, And I Am A Country Boy From Bunkie, Louisiana.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

7/20/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Thai Food

Short Description

Chemistry professor and research chemist Isiah M. Warner (1946 - ) is the first African American vice-chancellor for strategic initiatives at Louisiana State University. He has published over 230 chemistry research articles.

Employment

Battelle Northwest

Texas A&M University

Emory University

Louisiana State University

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1738,24:3070,57:3440,63:7066,135:7436,141:8546,160:12255,184:12696,193:13074,200:13326,205:16788,254:17468,265:17740,273:18692,293:23298,337:26859,388:27591,405:27896,411:29238,441:32227,511:32471,516:35399,621:35643,626:50160,755:50640,773:54530,819:55058,828:55586,835:56202,844:61042,887:61560,896:62744,917:64714,935:65750,959:69376,1038:77105,1187:77397,1192:82634,1235:83064,1241:86464,1260:87168,1274:87680,1283:89216,1319:89792,1329:90432,1341:91072,1360:93252,1371:93956,1391:94404,1400:94980,1414:95556,1425:96004,1433:96388,1440:101679,1504:101947,1509:104493,1559:104761,1564:109250,1662:114958,1697:115402,1704:119102,1781:119768,1791:120804,1812:124430,1912:132470,1940:132750,1945:133030,1950:136687,1967:138343,2001:138964,2053:139378,2064:144260,2082:146430,2137:146710,2142:147340,2156:147970,2172:148250,2177:148740,2185:149230,2192:152070,2208:152400,2215:153060,2229:154215,2261:162135,2389:162395,2394:164085,2436:164410,2442:167400,2542:177631,2707:181039,2775:181678,2792:182033,2798:186798,2894:187046,2899:188486,2917:188814,2922:193785,2994:194676,3013:195162,3020:199762,3043:200078,3048:200947,3062:201342,3068:202290,3130:202843,3138:203475,3148:216902,3337:220520,3375$0,0:8436,228:26288,548:48929,879:53615,971:53970,977:54609,988:61993,1124:72834,1236:73199,1243:73491,1248:80499,1403:81010,1415:85901,1516:86266,1522:94729,1608:117530,2000:119502,2027:129413,2131:130491,2145:155384,2447:155870,2454:161310,2542
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Isiah Warner's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Isiah Warner shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Isiah Warner talks about his maternal ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Isiah Warner talks about his mother and grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Isiah Warner talks about his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Isiah Warner talks about his childhood in Bunkie, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Isiah Warner talks about the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Isiah Warner talks about Carver High School and Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Isiah Warner talks about his interest in chemistry in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Isiah Warner talks about the atmosphere at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Isiah Warner talks about segregation laws in high school and college athletics

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Isiah Warner talks about his chemistry professors at Southern University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Isiah Warner talks about campus activism and avoiding the draft

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Isiah Warner recalls how he met his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Isiah Warner talks about his adjustment to an integrated environment at Battelle Northwest

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Isiah Warner talks about his graduate studies at the University of Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Isiah Warner talks about his faculty positions at Texas A&M University and Emory University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Isiah Warner explains his research in fluorescent spectroscopy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Isiah Warner explains his research in chiral drug molecules as a faculty member at Louisiana State University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Isiah Warner talks about his initiatives with chemistry students at Louisiana State University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Isiah Warner discusses African Americans in chemistry

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Isiah Warner responds to a question about entrepreneurship in chemistry

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Isiah Warner reflects on his life and shares his hopes for the black community

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Isiah Warner talks about his faculty positions at Texas A&M University and Emory University
Isiah Warner explains his research in fluorescent spectroscopy
Transcript
All right, well tell us about that. Were you one of the first blacks on that [Texas A&M] faculty?$$Oh, I was in chemistry. I was the first black ever on that faculty. And the way I ended up taking that position is the chair of the department was at a conference that I, when I was giving a lecture. And he was very impressed with my talk. Afterwards, another graduate student gave a talk, and he got stuck with a question, and I helped answer the question. So all that made him very impressed. And so he went back, said, look we've got this position open. We've got to interview this young man. He's applied for this position.$$Okay, well, how were you received there? I mean did people--did they expect you not to know as much because you're a black or what did they, how did they or did it matter to them?$$Again, I wasn't quite as aggressive as the typical person. So, for example, when I negotiated my equipment and all that, the, there was an Asian guy, who was Chinese, took a liking to me, said, "You'd better get it in writing." I said, "For what?" He said, "Just get in writing." I said, well, we shook hands, you know (laughter). He said, "Get it writing!" And sure enough, that was useful later on. But the first year, there was, a member of the National Academy comes in. He brings in two assistant professors, takes over all the space, you know. And I didn't have any space. I was sitting in someone else's office for a year, no laboratory. And finally I had to pull up this letter saying I want my equipment and finally got some space. And those two assistant professors he brought in ended up being denied tenure. And I was given tenure. And so, in the end, things worked out best for me. And if it were not for that chair, I wouldn't be in academics today. He was a big factor in my life.$$What's his name?$$His name was Arthur Martelle (ph.). He's passed away, was it last year? Yeah, he passed away last year.$$Okay.$$He built the chemistry department at Texas A&M [University, College Station, Texas] into what it is today.$$Okay, how long was it before you got tenure there at Texas A&M?$$Five years. I got early tenure, a year earlier than a typical person, mostly because other schools were trying to court me like Purdue [University, West Lafayette, Indiana] was trying to recruit me. And so they moved up my tenure early, but I didn't stay there. Once I got tenure I just moved to Emory University [Atlanta, Georgia] because the place was so large, I decided I wanted to go to a smaller school. And Texas A&M was the largest chemistry department in the world. I mean they have about eighty, full-time equivalent faculty members. So I moved to Emory University. I applied for a position at Emory University and moved there. They had about twenty faculty.$$Now, that's in Atlanta [Georgia], right?$$Right, in Atlanta.$$Now, how did you like that?$$I liked it much better, smaller department. But I found out, no matter where you go in academics, there's always politics. So, and I'd been there for ten years when LSU [Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana] started trying to recruit me actively.$$Okay, so this is like, when did you go to Emory? Was it '82 [1982]?$$Eighty-two [1982], right.$$I'm trying to calculate, okay, '82 [1982]. So you were there for ten years--$$Right.$$--until 1992?$$Right.$All right, now, when you were there, I mean, were you able to engage in any independent research or anything?$$Oh, yeah, I did at Texas A&M [University, College Station, Texas]. That's a requirement in those kinds of schools. Texas A&M, Emory [University, Atlanta, Georgia], and LSU [Louisiana State University], it's a requirement. If you're tenure tracked, you engage in research. So I've been actively involved in research from the time I was at Texas A&M.$$Okay, I'm a chemical ignoramus myself, but there are gonna be people watching this that know some chemistry probably and they wanna know what you were doing. So if you would explain it and don't worry about the terminology going over my head because (laughter).$$Okay, when I left graduate school, one of the things I developed was a new instrument for measuring fluorescent spectroscopy. Fluorescence has to do with, you shine light on a molecule, and molecules give you off a different light. Both of those lights are characteristics of the molecule, the light that's absorbed and the light that's given off. And so I developed an instrument that would measure all the light that was absorbed and given off simultaneously for all molecules at a given time. And so when I left school, I started applying that instrument, I developed another instrument similar to it and started applying it to various applications. So that was the focus of my research a lot of time, using that instrument to identify molecules. In fact, it was used, it was a video camera really that I used as a detector since the image was two dimensional. I would have a two-dimensional representation of the molecule, and it would be the light that was given off as a function of exciting wavelength and emitting wavelength. And that image could be plotted, you know, as a, just as a television camera image in two dimensions. And so I could use, apply that to identifying molecules and pollutants like poly-aromatic hydrocarbons and different kinds of molecules. That's what I, that was my first area of research.$$Okay, and that's at Texas A&M?$$That's Texas A&M. And I continued that until I, after I got to Emory also, developing new kinds of applications, identifying bacteria, using this instrumentation and fingerprinting, phytoplankton in the ocean. You know, there were all kinds of applications that I've developed over the years for this technique.$$Now, what's a phytoplankton?$$Well, plants that are growing out in the ocean. So that was an oceanography application that we had.

William Lester, Jr.

Distinguished theoretical chemist William Lester, Jr., was born on April 24, 1937, in Chicago, Illinois, where he attended all-black elementary schools due to racial segregation. After World War II, Lester's family moved and he attended a formerly all-white high school; he went on to receive his B.S. degree in 1958, and his master’s degree in chemistry in 1959 from the University of Chicago. Lester obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1964.

Lester developed his interest in science at an early age; during his senior year in high school, he used his typing skills to obtain a part-time job in the physics department of the University of Chicago, which gave him a chance to explore the potential of a future career in the sciences. Entering the University of Chicago on a history scholarship, Lester set scoring records in basketball, two of which were still standing after forty-eight years. While at Catholic University, Lester worked at the National Bureau of Standards as a member of the scientific staff; his work at the Bureau helped him to meet the requirements for his doctoral dissertation on the calculation of molecular properties. Lester obtained a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he worked on the molecular collision theory. The IBM Corporation then hired Lester to work at its research laboratory in San Jose, California. Later, as the director of the National Resource for Computation in Chemistry, Lester organized and led the first unified effort in computational chemistry in the United States.

Lester later joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley as a professor of chemistry, where his research focused on the theoretical studies of the electronic structure of molecules. Lester's efforts at Berkeley extended the powerful quantum Monte Carlo method to a wider range of chemical problems. In 2002, Lester became the president of the Pac-10 Conference.

Throughout his career, Lester published over 200 papers in his field, and was awarded numerous honors for his research and teaching. Lester held memberships in several professional organizations including the American Physical and Chemical Societies, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was also elected a fellow of the APS, ACS, and AAAS. In addition to his professional activities, Lester remained committed to science education and sparking an interest in pursuing science careers in minority students.

Lester and his wife, Rochelle (deceased), raised two children: son, William A. Lester, III, and daughter, Allison L. Ramsey.

Accession Number

A2004.043

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/7/2004 |and| 10/13/2005 |and| 11/7/2012

Last Name

Lester

Middle Name

A.

Schools

McCosh Elementary School

Frank L. Gillespie Technology Magnet Cluster School

Calumet Career Prep Academy High School

University of Chicago

Washington University in St Louis

Catholic University of America

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Archival Photo 2
Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

LES01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Depends on audience - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Allstate honoree

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Maui, Barbados

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

4/24/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Red Beans, Rice, Steak, Mexican Food

Short Description

Chemistry professor and chemist William Lester, Jr. (1937 - ) was the former director of the National Resource for Computation in Chemistry. He later joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley as Professor of Chemistry, and published over 200 papers in his field.

Employment

National Bureau of Standards (NBS)

IBM

National Resource for Computation in Chemistry

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

University of California, Berkeley

University of Wisconsin, Madison

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:12388,310:14896,360:32571,661:33301,672:38484,760:47460,842:48594,861:56658,1077:70017,1277:74502,1376:78159,1459:78642,1468:83127,1595:101510,1881:101774,1890:102500,1902:103556,1931:104414,1962:104678,1967:108638,2118:109826,2138:117119,2202:127073,2403:134341,2509:141965,2644:142406,2652:142784,2660:144170,2702:144737,2712:144989,2717:154754,2954:168122,3142:169112,3162:172808,3238:173204,3246:174458,3265:185860,3452:193490,3596:194470,3610:195380,3622:195660,3629:195940,3634:206390,3767:208217,3809:218601,3982:224281,4111:225985,4139:236493,4363:244208,4415:244649,4423:249320,4482$0,0:12118,290:14193,337:24200,431:26716,484:27160,491:29010,541:35448,654:40410,677:43266,738:43538,743:44830,765:45782,777:46530,791:55982,1026:67980,1183:69030,1201:69520,1207:70710,1219:73300,1287:76310,1360:76660,1366:77010,1372:92351,1611:98483,1815:104592,1867:108663,1971:109353,1983:109629,1988:110181,2006:113562,2116:117219,2196:117771,2205:118461,2216:121773,2293:122049,2298:122532,2308:123015,2316:135260,2467
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Lester's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Lester shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Lester talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Lester discusses his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Lester shares his parents' stories of their childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Lester talks about his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about his extended family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Lester talks about his sisters and their families

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Lester describes his childhood homelife

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Lester describes Chicago in the 1940s

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Lester talks about his elementary school experiences in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Lester describes his family's history in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Lester talks about his high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Lester talks about his primary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Lester discusses his interests as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Lester talks about working at the post office while studying at the University of Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Lester describes the curriculum at the University of Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about his starring college basketball career at the University of Chicago, part 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Lester describes earning his M.S. degree from the University of Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Lester talks about his starring college basketball career at the University of Chicago, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Lester talks about his master's studies at the University of Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Lester describes his graduate school experience at Washington University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Lester describes his move to Washington, D.C. to attend The Catholic University of America

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Lester describes his work at the National Bureau of Standards

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Lester describes his courses at The Catholic University of America

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Lester describes correlated molecular orbital theory

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Lester discusses his work ethic

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Lester talks about his options for postdoctoral fellowships

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Lester reflects on the Civil Rights Movement in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - William Lester talks about the work environment of the University of Wisconsin--Madison

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - William Lester discusses affirmative action

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Lester describes his photographs

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Lester talks about his decision to work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Lester describes the close-coupling problem

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Lester discusses the work environment at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Lester recalls his move to California

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Lester recalls living in Madison, Wisconsin

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Lester describes the benefits of working at IBM

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Lester describes San Jose, California

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William Lester describes his career at IBM

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - William Lester recalls serving as director of the National Resource for Computation in Chemistry

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - William Lester discusses building the NRCC program

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - William Lester recalls the end of the NRCC and the beginning of his career at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Lester discusses the Quantum Monte Carlo method, part 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Lester discusses the Quantum Monte Carlo method, part 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Lester describes his work environment at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Lester talks about the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers [NOBCChE]

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Lester discusses his role as athletics representative for the PAC 10

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William Lester talks about his STEM professional affiliations

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about his travels

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William Lester discusses the role of his research in spectroscopy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William Lester discusses the role of his research in understanding photosynthesis

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William Lester talks about computer programming in computational chemistry

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William Lester shares his hobbies and other interests

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William Lester talks about his wife, Rochelle Lester

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - William Lester discusses the success of his son, William A. Lester III

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about his daughter, Alison Ramsey

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - William Lester talks about his cousin, William A.J. Ross

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - William Lester provides a brief summary of his family history

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - William Lester talks about seeking equal representation for African Americans in science

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - William Lester talks about his organizational affiliations

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - William Lester shares his goals for his future

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - William Lester discusses enjoying his career as a scientist

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - William Lester talks about education in the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about how he wants to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - William Lester talks about generating random numbers in the Monte Carlo Method

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Slating of William Lester's interview

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - William Lester describes the history of the development of the quantum Monte Carlo method

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - William Lester describes his experience with the quantum Monte Carlo method

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - William Lester describes his transition into using the quantum Monte technique and his current work

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - William Lester describes his work with graphene

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - William Lester talks about his life after retirement and his health

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about being featured in the 2004 Allstate calendar

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - William Lester talks about playing basketball

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - William Lester describes his decision to attend the University of Chicago and his basketball career there

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - William Lester describes the accomplished physicists he was exposed to at the University of Chicago

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - William Lester describes what influenced his decision to attend Washington University in St. Louis

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - William Lester describes balancing family life with graduate school

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - William Lester talks about the African American scientists who trained at Catholic University

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about fellow basketball players at the University of Chicago

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - William Lester describes receiving the INCITE Award in 2004

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - William Lester describes his visits to Europe for work

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - William Lester describes his awards and honors

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - William Lester talks about NOBCChE and Isiah Warner

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - William Lester talks about his seventieth birthday celebration at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - William Lester talks about receiving the Stanley C. Israel Award and reflects upon his career in chemistry

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - William Lester reflects upon his legacy and talks about current politics

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - William Lester describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - William Lester describes his involvement with The HistoryMakers' ScienceMakers Program

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - William Lester talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

2$2

DATape

6$5

DAStory

1$8

DATitle
William Lester discusses the Quantum Monte Carlo method, part 1
William Lester describes his career at IBM
Transcript
So you've been accepted to start your research at Berkeley (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Oh, yes, yes. I was appointed professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley [University of California, Berkeley], and well, what's to say except that--oh, I should back up a little bit because the nature of my research changed dramatically while I was director of the National Resource for Computation in Chemistry. One of the people I had hired was a physicist, condensed matter physicist, by the name of David Ceperley. And David came into my office one day indicating he had a 100 percent of the correlation energy for the electron gas. Now, the correlation energy is the difference between the theoretically, the theoretical exact energy for the system in energy of the system in what we call the mean field approximation, that is, an approximation in which you consider that the system is one in which a given electron is in the field of the N minus one other electrons. And each electron is viewed in this way. Well, anyway, this leads to well-known approximations in the electronic structure for molecules, it's called the Hartree Fock approximation, H-A-R-T-R-E-E, named after a fellow by the name of Hartree, who was English and Fock, F-O-C-K, who was a Russian. And I won't say what the contributions of each of them was. It gets a little bit technical for lay people in that respect, but simply to say that a 100 percent of the correlation energy was really quite an achievement. But it was foreign model system and electron gas is one way of considering a solid, in which you don't treat the solid in its explicit detail, but basically electrons in this see our gas, electron gas model. So I said, "Well, what about atoms and molecules, something which I understand." He said, "Well, really I'm a condensed matter physicist," and to some extent was not so keen about pursuing that but would do in collaboration. And this was done. I hired a fellow in the last year of NRCC [National Resource for Computation in Chemistry] by the name of Peter [J.] Reynolds who came from the East Coast. He had been a research professor at Boston University but had gotten his degree, his undergraduate degree, from Berkeley. He was a Berkeley product, a very brilliant young man, who wanted to come back to the West Coast. And so as a consequence, this led to our first publication of Quantum Monte Carlo for Molecules, which was published in or appeared in 1982. NRCC closed in 1981 and based upon the quality of results coming out of that study, I--and having done electronic structure for my Ph.D., this was really fascinating stuff. I mean the results were as good as the state of the art by any other technique that people were pursuing who had been engaged in electronic structure of molecules up to that point. And so I changed my research direction when I came on the faculty, continued to pursue Quantum Monte Carlo for molecules. And we began to build and extend the capability of the technique for larger systems, for higher accuracy, for understanding what was needed to improve upon results that had been obtained at that time. I should add that one aspect in terms of Ceperley that I hadn't mentioned before, and that is the idea of hiring him was the notion of a fellow by the name of Berni [Julian] Alder. And Bernie Alder is a scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory [Livermore, California], internationally recognized and respected for his work originally in classical Monte Carlo. Quantum Monte Carlo means that one is taking into account the fermion character of electrons and nuclei. By that I mean that--$$Fermion?$$The fermion is a system which has spin, and that indeed, you can have regions of both positive and negative phase, which means that, in terms of Monte Carlo simulations, what you are doing classically is adding up numbers of the same sign to get a mean and an uncertainty associated with the evaluation. With Quantum Monte Carlo because the system, the function can have both positive and negative phases, you have to find a way so that you end up adding up numbers of the same sign in order to get a mean and an uncertainty. And without going into detail, it is possible to do that in the way that, something we call a fixed node approximation, which says that--well, I don't, I don't want to go into that. That's another half hour or so just in terms of the general ideas of Quantum Monte Carlo in its simplest manifestation.$But backing up a bit, through the early '70s [1970s], I had achieved somewhat of a positive reputation and I was viewed to be on the fast track for advancement in management. It was suggested that I go and spend time on the technical planning staff with the vice president and director of research, Ralph [E.] Gomory. This I did. And this meant going, moving to actually White Plains, New York for the year. That laboratory is located in Yorktown Heights, New York, it's the T.J. Watson Research Center. And that was a very interesting experience. I was on a committee or--which involved other young people, and it was clear to me that these folks really were, wanted to pursue advanced management in IBM, and it became clear to me that really I preferred my research to rising in the system at IBM per se. It reached an interesting point when I returned to San Jose because it was suggested that things didn't work well for me in Yorktown. I said, "Oh, I don't understand that." Well, then as I reflected on it, very possibly in terms of what you did while you were there and so on and how people spent their time, and so the commitment to the IBM administrative management direction was not fully there, that that's probably the basis upon which this decision or this view was held. Now I should back up and say also that prior to this, some two or three years earlier, I was selected to participate in a career development workshop. And the guys who ran this said, you know, in effect, you know, they're looking at you for management. I said, "Oh, yeah, really?" And so they went and volunteered that, "Yeah, we can shade it one way or the other." I said, "Really, at this point in my career, I really want to pursue my science as opposed to management." And they said, "Well, okay, we'll indicate that in the report," which they did, that, although Bill has, you know, potential for being a successful manager, he really should be allowed to pursue his research at this time. So there's this dilemma that confronts one, I think, early on in the management scheme in an institution of that type at that time, since things are very different now in terms of IBM and the parallel research laboratory that existed at the time, Bell Labs, in the sense that there is considerably less freedom. There's more pointed research towards the mission of the company than there was at the time I was there. So they're very different institutions in that sense.

Ralph Gardner-Chavis

Chemist and chemistry professor Ralph Gardner-Chavis was born on December 3, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio to Vivian Hicks Gardner, a teacher and housewife, and Clarence Chavis Gardner, a musician and government worker. Gardner-Chavis was educated in the Cleveland Public School system. He attended Bolton Elementary School and Audubon Junior High School. Gardner-Chavis graduated from John Adams High School in 1939 and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1943. He completed his graduate studies at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, earning both his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry in 1952 and 1959, respectively.

In order to avoid fighting in World War II, Gardner-Chavis took a job as a research assistant on the Manhattan Project between 1943 and 1947. The project resulted in the United States developing the atomic bomb to end the war in 1945. Immediately after leaving this position, Gardner-Chavis was unable to find a job as a chemist, so he worked as a waiter from 1947 to 1949. He was eventually hired as a research chemist and project leader at the Standard Oil Company in Ohio where he remained for almost twenty years. Gardner-Chavis then took a teaching position in Cleveland State University’s chemistry department where he held a full-time faculty position from 1968 to 1985. As a professor, Gardner-Chavis had an interest in early childhood learning and development, and he started a program with his adult students that advocated reading to babies. He fought for the inclusion of black studies and multi-racial courses in the curriculum at CSU. Gardner-Chavis later combined his part-time teaching with work in the research lab of the Molecular Technology Corporation, where he was also on the board of directors and served as vice president of research. Gardner-Chavis went on to hold emeritus status in the CSU chemistry department while continuing his research on catalysis and molecular technology.

Throughout his career as a chemist, Gardner-Chavis published numerous research articles. He became a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity in 1942 and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in 2001.

Gardner-Chavis passed away on March 27, 2018 at age 95.

Accession Number

A2004.030

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/19/2004

Last Name

Gardner-Chavis

Marital Status

Married

Schools

John Adams High School

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Western Reserve University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ralph

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

CHA05

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Francisco, California

Favorite Quote

Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

12/3/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Death Date

3/27/2018

Short Description

Chemistry professor and chemist Ralph Gardner-Chavis (1922 - 2018 ) was a research assistant for the Manhattan Project before working as a chemist for the Standard Oil Company and teaching chemistry at Cleveland State University.

Employment

Manhattan Project (U.S.).

Standard Oil Company

Cleveland State University

Molecular Technology Group

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:686,4:974,9:1406,16:1838,23:3062,42:3494,51:3998,59:9254,156:9830,166:11198,187:11558,193:15560,202:16029,214:16297,219:16565,224:17369,242:18039,256:18441,263:20853,305:21121,310:22327,331:22930,342:23466,353:23801,359:27740,385:28020,390:28720,402:29980,424:30260,429:30960,442:31730,457:35666,499:37252,533:38228,567:38594,575:39082,586:39326,591:40790,652:41400,663:44399,684:44983,695:47319,738:47903,748:48560,760:49728,779:50385,790:51115,802:53670,853:54035,859:56882,901:57174,906:58634,929:64724,969:66200,994:66856,1003:68004,1030:68496,1037:69316,1049:70382,1063:70710,1068:74674,1086:75142,1093:75766,1104:77549,1119:79458,1144:80205,1155:80537,1160:80952,1166:83060,1171:83606,1179:84854,1197:85166,1202:85712,1210:87445,1227:88246,1237:91152,1283:92368,1307:95504,1370:95760,1375:96016,1380:96720,1397:99380,1414:99835,1423:100615,1434:101525,1450:102370,1467:102630,1472:102955,1478:103605,1490:104320,1503:104775,1511:105360,1521:105880,1531:106140,1536:106400,1541:107115,1551:108090,1568:111866,1581:112244,1588:112496,1593:114512,1613:114911,1621:115823,1634:116279,1649:116906,1661:117305,1670:117875,1680:118103,1685:118331,1690:120098,1731:120383,1737:120668,1743:121238,1758:121979,1772:125146,1786:125734,1795:126420,1804:129744,1834:130440,1844:131310,1853:132006,1863:132615,1873:133224,1885:143100,1956:144306,1980:144641,1986:145378,2001:145646,2006:145914,2011:146383,2016:148125,2035:149331,2060:150068,2079:151475,2110:151944,2118:152547,2128:152815,2133:153418,2147:153820,2156:154624,2168:155160,2178:159850,2188:160521,2199:160765,2204:161375,2218:161619,2223:162107,2232:162351,2237:162656,2243:163998,2274:165889,2314:167475,2343:168207,2362:168451,2367:168695,2372:169000,2378:169732,2395:170525,2413:170830,2419:174490,2498:174734,2503:174978,2508:175527,2520:175771,2525:180760,2535:181390,2542:181810,2547:182650,2555:184446,2568:184738,2573:185030,2578:185614,2588:187366,2618:187731,2624:188096,2633:188680,2642:189191,2651:189629,2658:190432,2674:191673,2697:191965,2702:192768,2715:193060,2720:193352,2725:194593,2746:196199,2778:201698,2799:202133,2805:203090,2832:207706,2880:208146,2886:210082,2919:210874,2932:212370,2955:213866,2988:221170,3122:222138,3137:222754,3145:223282,3152:223722,3158:227077,3176:227273,3181:227469,3186:227714,3193:230320,3219:230548,3224:230890,3231:232315,3266:232657,3273:233341,3287:235450,3299:236017,3310:236269,3315:236521,3320:237088,3331:237529,3340:238096,3352:238663,3362:238915,3367:239167,3372:239608,3380:241816,3399:242076,3405:242648,3420:243168,3432:243948,3455:248350,3488:250730,3507:251570,3521:253520,3550$0,0:2508,42:3648,59:4104,66:4484,72:7600,130:8664,146:8968,151:9880,162:11324,190:16310,224:16582,229:17126,239:17602,246:18894,260:19234,266:19506,271:20118,280:22634,344:25218,410:25490,415:25966,424:26238,429:26646,436:27326,448:30784,461:31522,471:33162,490:33982,501:34556,512:39030,561:39457,570:39884,578:40799,595:41226,603:41775,613:42995,633:44032,657:44947,674:45374,681:45618,686:46655,700:47265,711:50030,719:50408,726:50786,733:51227,741:52802,775:53117,781:54818,822:55070,827:55322,832:55574,837:55952,844:56330,854:56582,859:56834,864:57338,873:57590,882:58976,908:59606,921:60047,929:63534,940:64332,955:64560,960:64902,967:65472,978:65871,986:66099,991:66441,1001:66669,1006:67467,1019:67923,1029:68265,1036:68778,1046:69063,1053:69348,1059:69690,1067:71620,1075:71998,1083:72754,1102:73951,1154:74959,1174:79070,1206:79358,1211:79934,1221:80294,1228:80870,1239:83088,1252:84040,1258:87140,1276:88940,1282:89677,1293:90213,1302:90883,1314:91151,1319:93082,1344:94485,1368:95217,1385:95583,1398:95888,1404:96254,1414:96742,1423:97047,1429:97901,1445:99060,1466:102812,1487:104090,1507:105226,1523:106362,1545:107569,1553:108421,1567:111048,1617:111758,1634:113533,1669:118390,1687:118990,1701:119230,1706:119470,1711:120370,1728:120910,1742:121150,1748:121390,1753:121630,1758:121990,1766:122410,1775:123310,1798:123790,1807:124690,1828:127499,1840:128135,1853:128612,1865:129142,1876:129460,1884:131423,1897:131828,1904:135367,1937:135712,1943:136747,1963:137092,1969:137644,1979:137920,1984:138748,1999:141354,2020:141730,2030:142341,2048:142623,2056:142905,2066:143328,2078:146576,2113:148278,2119:148824,2127:149214,2133:149760,2141:150462,2152:151086,2162:153070,2172:154945,2189:157719,2216:158124,2222:158772,2233:159825,2249:160149,2254:162354,2263:162586,2268:162818,2273:164442,2315:164732,2322:165138,2327:165834,2342:166124,2348:166646,2359:166878,2364:167400,2375:167748,2382:168096,2390:168328,2395:168560,2400:169662,2425:169894,2430:174606,2454:177640,2489:178084,2496:179268,2511:179564,2516:179860,2521:180526,2531:180822,2537:187282,2599:187597,2605:188227,2618:188731,2627:189298,2638:189676,2645:190117,2653:192696,2664:193184,2673:193489,2679:193733,2684:194099,2692:194526,2700:194831,2706:195197,2713:195563,2727:195807,2732:199426,2764:199720,2772:199916,2777:200602,2802:201141,2817:201778,2840:202219,2850:205262,2868:205706,2875:206372,2887:207186,2900:208370,2924:208740,2931:209628,2946:213180,3005:214438,3035:215770,3060:216658,3078:227120,3165:229636,3212:231132,3243:231472,3249:232356,3264:232900,3274:233240,3280:233580,3288:234940,3315:235416,3323:235824,3330:237048,3349:237592,3358:237864,3363:242980,3399:243204,3404:243428,3409:243764,3416:244156,3425:244436,3435:245388,3463:247460,3469:248616,3487:249092,3495:249568,3504:250656,3525:251268,3536:251608,3542:253104,3574:253376,3579:254668,3600:257116,3651:258340,3677:260312,3729:265405,3747:266575,3772:267095,3782:268980,3826:272702,3854:274182,3890:276402,3944:276698,3949:277364,3961:277660,3966:278474,3981:279066,3990:280324,4016:280620,4021:286440,4100
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ralph Gardner-Chavis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his father's upbringing and interest in music

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ralph Garder-Chavis talks about his early childhood in Buffalo, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis discusses his family's move to Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his Cleveland neighborhood and the schools he attended

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about how his family managed during the Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his mother's working for the Welfare Department

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis shares a story about his junior high math class

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis explains how he became a chemist instead of joining the military

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis explains how he ended up working as a chemist on the Manhattan Project

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis shares the history and the science behind the Manhattan Project

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis continues to discuss the technology behind the atomic bomb

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about other key players in the race to build an atomic bomb

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis describes the atmosphere in Chicago, Illinois during the creation of the atomic bomb

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about the United States' decision to drop the atomic bomb

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis reflects on the fate of the Manhattan Project and the post-war mood

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his difficulty finding a job as a chemist after World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his graduate education and starting his family

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about wanting to work on catalysts at Standard Oil

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about completing his Ph.D. requirements and playing ping pong

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis recalls working under his supervisor at Standard Oil

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis discusses his research on the interactions of gas molecules with the surface of a solid

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about race-related issues between himself and the head of his laboratory at Standard Oil

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about how his publication was chosen for a conference in Moscow, Russia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis details traveling to Moscow for his conference presentation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis explains the rise and fall of his American Dream Soap Company

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his students at Cleveland State University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis explains his "Reading to Babies" initiative, part 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis explains his "Reading to Babies" initiative, part 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his work on diversity curriculum initiative at Cleveland State University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis explains his battle for tenure at Cleveland State University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his conflict with the Department of Chemistry's Personnel Action Committee in the chemistry department at Cleveland State University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis responds to a question comparing his fight to be promoted to the story of Galileo

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his relatives and friends

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his propensity for the written word and his interest in music

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis reflects on his career as a scientist and his accomplishments in the field of catalyst chemistry

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis recites one of his poems

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis responds to a question about the future of weapons of mass destruction

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis describes his photographs

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Ralph Gardner-Chavis continues to discuss the technology behind the atomic bomb
Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about wanting to work on catalysts at Standard Oil
Transcript
Now this wasn't public information was it when you started working on the project [Manhattan Project]?$$No, no, no.$$Okay.$$No the, the lab was in a little white one story, big white one story building that didn't look like anything. I mean there were no guards outside at all because you didn't want to call attention to the lab because it would be a prime target for sabotage. And they trusted the people not to, not to tell anyone as to what they were doing.$$Okay. So this continued then the research--.$$Right.$$--to produce this atomic bomb--.$$Yeah.$$--for about a year and a half after you got there?$$Yeah, right and--.$$And so when is the technology perfected?$$Well the work I was doing was, I did two things there. One, I worked on some of the development of the process to extract the plutonium. See the plutonium now is, is on, is in these uranium rods but the amounts of plutonium were tiny, micro, microgram amounts, so, so tiny you can't you know really precipitate it or anything like that. So they had to devise methods for concentrating this plutonium and the method that I was working on was called co-precipitation. Turned out they found that bismuth phosphate had the same crystal structure as the plutonium phosphate. So when they precipitated bismuth phosphate the plutonium phosphate would occlude on the top of the bismuth phosphate or come down with the bismuth phosphate and in that way they could concentrate the plutonium. Then they would oxidize the plutonium to another oxidation state and this time when they precipitated the phosphate it didn't come down. It, it was a soluble phosphate in that time. So alternating back and forth why they were able to concentrate it eventually to the point where they could use metallurgical techniques to make, to make the bomb.$$Okay.$$And the bomb is about the size of, about the size of a kind of big grapefruit just maybe about that big around. And the way you, the way they did it they had in those days developed what they call dynamite in shaped charges. In other words they could fix the dynamite so it would blow in a certain direction like that. So you would, a machine ate pieces of plutonium that they, that when they put them together they would make a sphere. But you're not supposed to try them together to see if they fit cause if you did it would be, then the atom bomb would explode. So you have to be seeing these pieces of plutonium but don't as I say try to see if they fit each other. And then they would be in this container inside some kind of apparatus so they were apart and then to explode the bomb they would have the dynamite blow the pieces together and of course as soon as they came together why then they would you know begin this fission. So I mean so you have you know three, three neutrons and then you have nine and you have eighty one then you have two, forty three and so forth, but all this happens just like that and the bomb goes off.$$All right. So one of these bombs or the capability of using this bomb--.$$Oh yeah, yeah.$$--for 1945 and--(simultaneously).$$Yeah, and it's interesting in that there are several things about this. One is the fact that when I first went on the project many people that I talked to hoped that it was really impossible to make a bomb because we felt that mankind is much too flaky to be entrusted with such awesome power. But on the other hand if it was possible to make one, we had to be first before Germany. So we did work you know very diligently at this to try to make the bomb.$Well let's stay there at the Standard Oil experience for a little while longer. I hear and I've read too some of the reading and preparation for this discussion that you've done a lot with catalysis.$$Yes.$$And you told me some years ago that a catalyst is a thing that starts a process.$$Yeah that makes a reaction take place.$$That causes a reaction to take place.$$Take place right.$$Okay. So were you at that point in your career focusing on catalysis or something else?$$Now yeah, I went on, I went to, I began at Standard Oil in '49 [1949] and I did my work for several different, I did several different things there in the beginning. But the one thing that I did work a good deal on was a separation process called liquid thermal diffusion. Well we, did the, the group that I was with they did, we did all the work that they wanted done. In fact they actually sold the process and the patent to somebody, to another company so therefore they were really completely through with that. So they gave me a, a chance to choose something else I would like to work on that of course would be of interest to Sohio [Standard Oil of Ohio], had to be something they were interested in too. Well I had, knew there was such a thing as a catalyst and that, that the catalyst would cause a, a chemical reaction to take place but it wouldn't be consumed in the, in the reaction. So it meant that a small amount of catalyst could then initiate a tremendous amount of reactions and, which almost seemed to me like, it almost seemed as if you were getting something for nothing practically to have this thing that would keep on you know operating and operating and not be used up. And the people didn't know much about it at that time but just that, what I've said is that the catalyst initiated the chemical reactions, it wasn't used. So I thought that would be an intriguing area to work on so I made a proposal to Sohio and then I, my first proposal was that I would simply do some reading in the field to see what if there was something I could come up with that would be of interest and so they allowed me to spend several weeks reading papers and books and articles, publications and books. And what struck me about what I was reading was the fact that the work that others seemed to do, appeared to me to be what I call anecdotal. In other words what this person did didn't seem to bear much relationship to what the next person did. And I have described their work as being like little vignettes that were very carefully done, very scientifically measured and very, very well reported but there still was no unifying concept or thread between them. And thinking about this made me realize these people really didn't know what they were doing at all and made me feel that I didn't want to do what they were doing. I wanted to do something different. And a person came to the research lab named Ray Meyers and he gave a lecture on his idea. And his idea was that a matching of the vibrational frequencies, you know all the molecules and things are vibrating all the time like they're shaking all the time. All our atoms are shaking and the vibrational frequencies or the matching of the vibrational frequency of the two reactants would facilitate the reaction, would cause a reaction to go. Why in my reading nobody else had ever said anything like that and this seemed to me to be an idea that nobody else was using and also one that made a lot of sense because I kind of thought about it like Pacman was, was present in those days. And so Pacman ran around like that so if they were doing it in, in, in phase of each other they could interact but if they were doing it out of phase, they couldn't, made a lot of sense to me. So I thought well I wanted to design my work then to either use or test this Meyers idea.$$Okay. And so you're working in the labs--.$$Yeah.$$--at Standard Oil?$$At Standard Oil.$$Were you able to, to also focus your, your research, your graduate research for the Ph.D. on that same material?$$Eventually I was able to, yeah. Yeah.$$Okay, all right.$$Yeah.

Albert Antoine

Chemist and chemistry professor Albert Antoine was born in New York, New York, on January 14, 1925. His parents, Wilhelmina Marie and Emmanuel Evans Antoine, were natives of the British West Indies. Antoine received his elementary and secondary school education in the New York Public Schools, having attended P.S. 184, Cooper Junior High School and Townsend Harris High School, where he earned his high school diploma in 1941. He went on to earn his B.S. degree from the City College of New York and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Ohio State University. Before earning his Ph.D., Antoine was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944 and was trained in the Army Specialized Training Program, where he took courses in civil engineering.

In his early career, Antoine taught chemistry at Clark Atlanta University, in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1953/1954 school year. In 1954, he became a research chemist at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA). Antoine worked at the NASA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio where he researched jet and rocket propulsion, fuel efficiency for aircrafts, alternate fuel sources, batteries, and fuel cells. In 1983, Antoine became a senior research associate for Cleveland State University teaching students at the NASA Lewis Research Center.

Antoine was featured in "Black Contributions to the Engineering and Science Fields at NASA Lewis Research Center" and "Blacks in Science: Astrophysicist to Zoologist" by Hattie Carwell. He was also listed in "American Men of Science". Over the years, his professional activities included service on intergovernmental technical review and technical evaluating committees, membership in the American Chemical Society and publishing and lecturing on his research. Antoine also worked with many public service and non-profit organizations, including the Cleveland International Program, the Council for Careers in Science, the Rotary Club, and the Creative Writing Workshop Projects, which was founded by his wife, June Sallee Antoine.

Antoine passed away on August 11, 2017 at the age of 92.

Accession Number

A2004.028

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/18/2004

Last Name

Antoine

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

C.

Organizations
Schools

Townsend Harris High School

P.S. 184

Cooper Junior High School

City College of New York

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Albert

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

ANT02

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

1/14/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Grapefruit

Death Date

8/11/2017

Short Description

Chemist and chemistry professor Albert Antoine (1925 - 2017 ) taught chemistry at Clark College and researched fuel efficiency, batteries, and jet and rocket propulsion at NASA Lewis Research Center. Antoine became a senior research associate for Cleveland State University, teaching students at the NASA Lewis Research Center.

Employment

Clark Atlanta University

Cleveland State University

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Research Center

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:5776,84:21744,233:23138,254:23630,261:23958,266:28407,289:32584,328:36104,343:41736,437:49480,502:62660,555:65204,572:66509,589:70574,615:72550,629:74707,641:76761,665:78341,688:80316,715:81422,731:89531,804:90777,815:91578,825:104154,951:104955,963:106112,985:107981,1013:108604,1021:116133,1060:126797,1161:136541,1297:138368,1312:158523,1511:159180,1521:159983,1533:160494,1541:174180,1746$0,0:324,23:3969,70:5103,88:5670,96:5994,101:8829,188:12393,230:13365,244:15876,270:16767,284:17334,292:17982,301:21627,337:22518,364:24219,408:39745,512:41005,526:52203,559:53182,574:53716,581:56370,595:56888,603:57332,610:60134,623:60446,628:61616,644:62162,653:64970,681:67076,709:67856,721:68714,735:69338,744:69650,749:69962,754:70430,761:70976,770:71288,775:71600,780:71912,785:72848,795:73238,801:73706,811:74018,816:74642,827:79364,842:80210,853:81056,863:81714,872:82466,886:82842,891:84064,908:84910,915:85756,926:86602,937:87354,946:91684,959:95153,973:96044,985:97097,1009:97664,1018:101066,1068:104225,1116:104549,1121:105683,1136:106007,1141:106817,1153:107141,1158:108680,1179:110543,1206:112406,1225:113054,1235:113378,1240:119798,1279:120168,1285:121130,1294:121426,1299:122018,1308:122462,1318:123054,1323:125422,1349:125718,1354:132876,1404:133271,1410:136115,1434:136826,1444:137379,1453:138327,1467:139196,1476:140065,1491:140776,1502:141408,1511:143541,1543:144331,1555:144884,1563:149775,1574:150540,1585:153770,1630:154620,1642:155385,1652:156745,1663:168129,1805:170154,1833:171045,1846:171369,1854:172989,1876:175986,1923:176715,1928:177120,1934:177687,1941:183330,1955:183870,1963:184680,1973:187200,2013:188010,2023:197484,2113:198006,2120:199920,2150:202878,2183:209019,2207:210380,2214:211433,2228:211757,2233:212162,2239:216941,2312:221892,2351:224676,2394:225348,2403:226404,2414:226788,2419:227172,2424:230073,2448:230570,2456:231067,2465:232629,2486:233268,2497:233907,2507:234830,2527:236960,2568:237457,2577:237812,2583:241291,2635:241859,2645:242711,2656:243279,2666:247610,2740:248249,2754:248533,2759:249669,2779:250095,2786:250379,2791:252225,2819:253006,2840:263947,2855:267090,2883:268800,2897:269340,2904:272310,2936:273480,2949:274560,2960:275910,2974:276270,2979:276720,2985:277440,2995:278250,3006:283630,3028:284155,3037:285655,3055:286255,3064:287680,3092:288430,3103:290380,3129:290905,3138:292930,3172:293680,3184:294205,3192:294730,3201:295630,3215:296530,3230:304224,3269:304800,3278:306888,3302:307608,3311:310056,3331:310344,3336:310992,3346:311712,3358:312216,3367:313800,3392:314088,3397:314376,3402:314952,3412:315456,3420:316104,3434:316752,3445:318048,3464:318480,3471:319704,3488:321648,3518:322296,3528:322872,3539:323232,3545:325176,3602:325536,3608:327624,3645:328416,3661:328992,3670:338400,3696:338796,3701:339687,3713:340677,3725:341667,3742:342063,3747:342756,3755:343944,3771:344637,3780:345528,3791:348610,3796:353142,3852:359523,3970:360590,3986:362045,4005:369030,4038:369574,4043:370934,4054:383940,4130:384786,4140:385914,4148:391084,4184:391836,4193:392776,4205:397756,4288:399301,4307:402555,4338:403325,4350:404018,4360:404403,4366:407175,4409:407637,4416:408407,4427:410640,4461:412642,4498:413258,4507:413566,4512:414952,4535:415645,4545:421582,4571:423278,4603:424656,4615:429496,4660:431832,4679:432635,4691:433949,4710:435482,4727:436139,4737:439315,4755:440170,4760:441215,4772:441975,4781:442830,4792:443685,4802:444160,4808:444635,4814:449658,4845:450815,4860:451171,4865:453097,4875:453413,4880:454203,4892:456731,4933:457047,4938:462103,5022:462735,5031:466346,5052:466994,5061:467804,5072:470153,5109:470639,5117:471125,5125:471449,5130:472340,5143:473717,5171:474365,5180:475823,5203:476390,5212:476876,5220:477686,5236:479792,5266:483930,5272
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Albert Antoine's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Albert Antoine shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Albert Antoine talks about his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Albert Antoine talks about his father and his brother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Albert Antoine describes the sights and sounds of his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Albert Antoine talks about the Seventh Day Adventist Church

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Albert Antoine talks about Church culture and his brother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Albert Antoine remembers his elementary school and junior high school in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Albert Antoine talks about Townsend Harris High School and City College of New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Albert Antoine talks about the quality of his high school education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Albert Antoine recalls taking public transportation and going to public libraries

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Albert Antoine talks about becoming interested in chemistry during junior high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Albert Antoine talks about the effects of living far away from high school and college as a commuter student

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Albert Antoine talks about the black college community and being drafted into the military

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Albert Antoine talks about the Army Specialized Training Program and studying civil engineering

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Albert Antoine talks about segregation in the United States Army and science and technology in war

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Albert Antoine remembers the 1940s and African American opportunities in the military

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Albert Antoine talks about job opportunities for blacks in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Albert Antoine talks about trying to find work as a black scientist in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Albert Antoine remembers finishing his Ph.D. degree and meeting his wife, June S. Antoine

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Albert Antoine talks about teaching at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Albert Antoine talks about working for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Albert Antoine talks about NACA becoming NASA

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Albert Antoine describes his work as a chemist at NACA/NASA

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Albert Antoine talks about his wife and children

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Albert Antoine talks about his grandchildren

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Albert Antoine shares his love of reading chemical news magazines

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Albert Antoine describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

3$3

DATitle
Albert Antoine talks about becoming interested in chemistry during junior high school
Albert Antoine describes his work as a chemist at NACA/NASA
Transcript
But I'm wondering at what point in your career as a student did you decide that you wanted to be a chemist or did you just have this interest in the sciences in general?$$Oh. I believe that my interest in chemistry particularly was fought when I was in junior high school and some of the descriptions of chemistry and chemical reactions were just fascinating. And I was interested in science and general, yes. I liked math and we had physics in high school. No laboratories but we had physics as a course. And so I--but I believe I just enjoyed the, that grouping of studies math and physics and chemistry and when I was in college why anyone who was studying chemistry and you know biology let's say, why the expectation was that you would go into medical school. The idea of doing chemistry as a career was something that was foreign to, to our neighborhood. I didn't know any chemists and the, again the people that I knew who were going to college and going on most of them were thinking of going into medical school. So the idea of chemistry as a career was not firmly rooted in my mind. So people would say oh well what, what are you going to do with your studies? And I'd say oh I don't know. I'll be an educated bum maybe but I didn't really mean it. But did not again know of chemistry as a career and what one would do with chemistry. So I figured I would worry about that when--after I finished, after I graduated.$$You said you didn't know any chemists growing up.$$No.$$Were there any chemistry teachers or science teachers who, who served as, you'll like this term, the catalyst--$$Catalyst for it?$$--in this whole process that led to you becoming a chemist?$$No, not really.$$Can't recall any names of any--?$$No, no.$Something we associate with the 1960s and something that far outlived President Kennedy because he's assassinated in '63 [1963] and NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] is still going strong here in Ohio. But I'm wondering in, during the 1960s was your research as a chemist directly related to aeronautics or airplanes that are taking off on the ground and landing at an airport or are you focusing now on outer space?$$Okay. My work primarily was as a chemist yes. And initially it involved fuels for jet aircraft. And as in all vehicle studies, we're always interested in getting better performance, more efficiency, all kinds of improvements in any mode of transportation. So we were looking for fuels for jet aircraft that were better than the ones that were presently being used. In some cases, one case they were looking at different kinds of fuel. Though very quickly and very simply instead of carbon and hydrogen which is the makeup of the hydrocarbon fuels that were used in cars and aircraft and whatever, we started looking at some boron hydrogen compounds because it seemed that they might give you more efficiency, more bang for the buck in some cases. It turned out that yes they were better in some ways but in other ways they were not. There were too much deposits left. So that program was looked at and then dropped. The Navy was particularly interested in those fuels. So we looked at different kinds of fuels for jet aircraft other than the carbon and hydrogen fuels. And then as I said that program was dropped because it wasn't any better. And then another program we started looking for alternate sources of fuels. By that I mean a--fuels come out of the ground now. Petroleum reserves, dig an oil well you get the oil out of it, you process it, a certain part of it goes for gasoline for cars, a certain part goes for fuels for aircraft and a certain part goes for some other uses. Well we had a crisis, impending crisis that we were going to run out of petroleum fuels. What can we use? Well one of the answers was we can use coal and oil shale. The United States has a lot of coal. It also has a lot of oil--shale oil reserves and can we get decent aircraft fuel from these sources? Well okay, let's get some of this out and we'll test it. As a chemist, we would analyze it, tell the engineers how similar--how different it is from the fuels that they were using. And so it was a program that was developed to look at fuels from alternate sources. Well that went on for a few years until they found that oh, we're really not as short on oil as we thought. We found enough to last for X number of years and the prices had started to go up, then they started to come back down. And so that program went by the boards also because we don't need these fuels from alternate sources. Then further some of my work was involved with energy research. By that I mean well, specifically looking at batteries and fuel cells which are sources of electricity. And the Navy was interested in the programs that we had. Well NASA was interested also but NASA didn't have money to support the programs. So we were getting our support from the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense. So my work was more for source, for terrestrial uses and also underwater and some instances because the Navy had some underwater aircraft that they wanted to develop some of these sources of energy for and not really related to outer space.$$Okay.$$And in telling different people ask about that and they said well wait a minute, you're out at the space agency? And yes, but we do a lot of work that's not directly related to space. And we were asked to do this and we respond. And it just happens that most of my work has really not been directed to any project in outer space.$$So--$$But it's chemistry so.$$So how long were you at NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], how many years?$$Well in total, I was at NASA for forty-two years. I say in total because I left government service as such in 1983. I started in 1954 and I "retired" in 1983. But I continued working from 1983 to 1996 at NASA but I was actually employed at that time by Cleveland State University (CSU)[Cleveland, Ohio]. So again I was at NASA for forty-two years, the last thirteen as an employee of Cleveland State University and the first--other years as a direct government employee.$$So at CSU, do you have access to the laboratories? Can you continue with your research or is it primarily teaching that you provide there?$$Oh. No actually it was exclusively working at NASA. The--what was arranged was what they called a cooperative research agreement between NASA and Cleveland State. And under that cooperative research agreement, Cleveland State would supply NASA with professors as consultants on some projects, some students to work in some of the labs, that was not a very large part of it, and then the largest part of it was for Cleveland State to supply research associates. And the research associates would be hired by Cleveland State to work at NASA on NASA projects and that's what I was. I was a research associate so all of my work was done at NASA. I had no responsibilities at Cleveland State.

Samuel Massie

Organic Chemist Samuel Massie was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on July 3, 1919; his mother, a teacher, and his father, a minister, instilled in him a love of education. By the age of thirteen, Massie had graduated from high school. Because he was denied admittance to the University of Arkansas because of his race, Massie went on to attend Agricultural Mechanical Normal College of Arkansas. He then attended Fisk University before being accepted to Iowa State University, where he received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry.

Massie attended Iowa State University at the height of World War II; during this time, he was summoned before the draft board. Massie was allowed to return to school, but he was assigned to the Manhattan Project, the program that created the first atomic bomb. After completing his Ph.D., Massie returned to Fisk University to teach; it was here that he met his future wife, Gloria. Over the years, Massie held positions at Langston University, Howard University, and the National Science Foundation. In 1963, Massie was named president of the University of North Carolina Central.

In 1966, Massie became the first African American professor at the U.S. Naval Academy; he then served as chair of the chemistry department from 1977 to 1981. In 1994, Massie retired from the Naval Academy, though he retained the title professor emeritus.

Massie was awarded with an NAACP Freedom Fund Award; a White House Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award; and was named one of the seventy-five outstanding scientists in the country by Chemical and Engineering News Magazine. Massie was also involved with the Smithsonian Institute, and spent more than two decades on the Maryland State Board for Community Colleges.

Samuel Massie passed away on April 10, 2005, three months after the passing of his wife, Gloria.

Accession Number

A2003.161

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/19/2003

Last Name

Massie

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

P.

Organizations
Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Paul Laurence Dunbar Junior College

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Fisk University

Iowa State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Samuel

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

MAS03

Favorite Season

None

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Do the best you can with what you have.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

7/3/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Watermelon, Chicken

Death Date

4/10/2005

Short Description

Chemistry professor and organic chemist Samuel Massie (1919 - 2005 ) was the first African American professor at the Naval Academy. Massie also worked on the Manhattan Project earlier in his career.

Employment

Langston University Chemistry Department

Fisk University Chemistry Department

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Howard University Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department

North Carolina Central University

United States Naval Academy Chemistry Department

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Navy Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Samuel Massie

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Samuel Massie's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Samuel Massie recalls his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Samuel Massie relates the importance of education in his mother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Samuel Massie describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Samuel Massie shares childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Samuel Massie recalls his school days in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Samuel Massie discusses his options after graduating from high school at thirteen

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Samuel Massie recalls his time at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Samuel Massie describes his experiences at Fisk University

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Samuel Massie describes his experiences at Iowa State University

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Samuel Massie discusses his work with the Manhattan Project

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Samuel Massie recounts being the first black to work for Eastman Kodak Company

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Samuel Massie remembers the Manhattan Project

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Samuel Massie discusses his post-graduate career

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Samuel Massie recalls meeting Martin Luther King

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Samuel Massie discusses a potential biography

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Samuel Massie becomes the first black professor at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Samuel Massie discusses his accomplishments at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Samuel Massie discusses an elementary school being named in his honor

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Samuel Massie lists his honors

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Samuel Massie considers how he'd like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Samuel Massie discusses his honors in the field of chemistry

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Samuel Massie discusses the importance of black colleges

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Samuel Massie discusses his tenure as the Chairman for the Maryland State Board of Community Colleges

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Samuel Massie remembers his work at Eastman Kodak Company

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Photo - Samuel Massie as a child with his father, Samuel P. Massie, Sr., and mother, Earlee Taylor Massie, ca. 1921

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Photo - Samuel Massie with his wife, Gloria Massie, ca. 1998

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Photo - Samuel Massie with his wife, Gloria Massie, at a formal event, ca. 1998

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Photo - Samuel Massie with his mother, Earlee Taylor Massie, and his brother, Jack Massie, not dated

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Photo - Samuel Massie in his chemistry lab at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Photo - Samuel Massie with his wife, Gloria Massie, at the U.S. Naval Academy, ca. 1990s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Photo - Samuel Massie's three sons, James Massie, Herbert Massie, and Trei Massie, ca. 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Photo - Samuel Massie in a portrait, ca. 1993

Robert Beale

At the age of ninety-one, Robert Beale was still teaching. Born in Camden, New Jersey, on November 19, 1911, Beale moved with his family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1919. After graduating from high school, Beale went to West Virginia State University in 1929, and graduated cum laude in 1932. From there he attended the University of Pennsylvania, earning his M.S. degree in chemistry in 1934. He returned to school at Penn State University, where he received his PhD in chemistry in 1942.

Beale began his teaching career at what is now known as Hutson-Tillotson College in Austin, Texas, working in the chemistry department. After serving as a teacher and administrator at eleven different colleges during his career, including North Carolina A&T, the University of Maryland and Virginia Union, Beale retired in 1986. In 1990, Beale returned to teaching in the Prince George's County School District after hearing there was a shortage of black male teachers.

He taught at Suitland High School and took students on an annual "college tour," a five-day trip to various colleges in the South. He stayed active in the lives of his students, going to meet with parents and encouraging his students to further their education. His daughter, Joy Beale Mitchell, worked with him, serving as a media specialist at the school. He also had a son, Robert Beale, Jr.

Beale passed away on October 9, 2006 at age 94.

Accession Number

A2003.234

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/25/2003

Last Name

Beale

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

South Philadelphia High School

West Virginia State University

University of Pennsylvania

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Camden

HM ID

BEA02

Favorite Season

None

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

My Skin Covers Me Very Well. I Fit In It And I Don't Let Anyone In It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/19/1911

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cheesecake, Pig Feet

Death Date

10/9/2006

Short Description

Chemistry professor and high school chemistry teacher Robert Beale (1911 - 2006 ) served as a teacher and administrator at eleven different colleges during his sixty-year career, and continued to teach high school into his nineties.

Employment

Hutson-Tillotson College

North Carolina A&T State University

University of Maryland, College Park

Virginia Union University

Suitland High School

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:1590,17:6462,119:7419,145:10790,151:11134,156:14488,203:23444,281:23859,287:25602,316:26266,326:27096,334:28756,361:29171,367:30250,381:31910,400:32491,409:33404,424:46740,512:58723,613:59380,630:73534,721:86932,818:89900,831:100432,892:101069,900:106645,914:107646,922:114570,968:123820,1088:124888,1095:129664,1142:130308,1150:140045,1320:140495,1327:144180,1413$274,0:2926,68:4174,90:4798,99:10970,208:11405,221:11753,226:14972,260:16103,278:16886,288:20105,319:20888,329:30656,377:31064,382:34758,417:39952,494:43344,527:51596,570:51964,575:52976,593:53344,598:56196,626:70124,785:70971,799:74299,821:75352,838:91098,1047:94062,1069:94629,1078:99380,1133:101124,1150:108912,1183:109340,1188:110303,1199:110838,1205:115280,1225:120404,1337:121076,1346:124400,1364:126740,1372:129410,1382
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Beale's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Robert Beale's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Beale lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Beale describes his maternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Beale describes his maternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Beale describes his paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Beale describes his father's occupation, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert Beale describes his father's occupation, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert Beale describes the sights, sounds and smells of 1920s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Beale describes the sights, sounds and smells of 1920s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Beale describes the sights, sounds and smells of 1920s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Beale describes his childhood interests, activities and attending church in Camden, New Jersey and south Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Beale describes his family's musical abilities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Beale remembers the Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1926

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Beale describes attending James Logan Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Beale describes attending Southern Manual Training High School for Boys, later South Philadelphia High School, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Beale describes his post-high school career aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Beale explains how he attended West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Beale explains the significance of the second Morrill Act in 1890 to the establishment of southern black colleges and universities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Beale describes his experience as an undergraduate student at West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Beale describes his experience working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after graduating from college in 1931, during the Great Depression

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Beale talks about earning a master's degree and his first teaching job at Samuel Huston College in Austin, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Beale describes his tenure as an educator at Samuel Huston College in Austin, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Beale describes his tenure as an educator at Princess Anne College in Princess Anne, Maryland from 1936 to 1939

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Beale talks about earning his Ph.D. in chemistry from Pennsylvania State University in 1942

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Beale describes meeting his wife and the birth of his two children

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Beale lists the twelve institutions where he taught chemistry

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Beale describes his tenure as an instructor at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Beale describes one of his most memorable teaching moments in the chemistry department at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Beale talks briefly about his retirement from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Beale remembers civil rights activity in Greensboro, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Beale talks about joining the faculty at Suitland High School in Forestville, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Robert Beale describes his concerns and challenges as a high school educator

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Robert Beale describes the most rewarding aspect of teaching

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert Beale shares his teaching philosophy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert Beale describes how education has changed

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert Beale describes how he maintains the energy to teach at ninety years old

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert Beale describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert Beale reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert Beale remembers his childhood girlfriend

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert Beale considers what he would have done differently in his life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Robert Beale describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Robert Beale describes his tenure as an instructor at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland
Robert Beale describes one of his most memorable teaching moments in the chemistry department at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Transcript
Alright, and the last college you taught at was not a historically black college, the University of Maryland, right in College Park [Maryland]?$$Right what happened was I decided when I was at Knoxville College [Knoxville, Tennessee]--I decided that well first of all I went there along with the philosophy that had guided me through years and that is that the black professionals should go south to work and help the black people, you see. So you noticed I was in the south all the time. Now I'm at Knoxville College and they ran out of money.$$They ran out of money?$$They ran out of money and a Presbyterian church owned the school and it didn't have enough money to pay me so I left there. Now I'm still living in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]--no well let me see, I'm a little confused there--however I left and through some connection in Maryland--I forget what it was--I was put on a project assignment at College Park and then I went on there as a teacher of chemistry and then as an assistant to provost as they call them.$$How long did you stay at the University of Maryland?$$Eleven years.$$Okay that's a long time.$$That was the longest tenure I had had (laughter) and now I have a tenure here of thirteen, this is my fourteenth year here.$$So you've been here [Suitland High School, Forestville, Maryland] longer than any other place, that you've ever taught (simultaneous).$$Any other place, right.$Before we get to this, I just want to ask you if there is something remarkable about your teaching career in colleges that you want to tell us about or some of experience that you--(simultaneous) (unclear)?$$Well for the most part in these colleges as I moved around, I was the chemistry department and I developed the chemistry department however you want to put it and I was well received. When I went to Southern University [Baton Rouge, Louisiana] as head of the chemistry department, the department had a reputation that nobody could pass, you see and I--and they also couldn't even get into classes in chemistry. So I told the president, I said well look set the class up for the chapel and I will meet them in the chapel and I would get up on the stage with a board and go on teaching them chemistry. I enjoyed that very much. Interesting thing about it is there was a piano in there and before they came in, I would get down there and play the piano (laughter). They would be coming in and I was banging away on the piano. But I did that sort of thing to help the situation, to cooperate and get it going. I'm talking about taking the large class in the chapel. So I have enjoyed my whole career ever since I almost messed up at Samuel Huston [College, later Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, Texas] (laughter) but my guardian angel gave up her life to rescue me.