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J. K. Haynes

Biologist and academic administrator John K. “J.K.” Haynes was born on October 30, 1943 in Monroe, Louisiana to John and Grace Haynes. His mother was a teacher and his father was the principal of Lincoln High School in Ruston, Louisiana. Haynes began first grade when he was four years old. When he was six, his family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Haynes began attending Southern University Laboratory School. He attended Morehouse College when he was seventeen and he received his B.S. degree in biology in 1964. Haynes aspired to attend medical school. However, a professor advised him to apply to graduate school and he went on to attend Brown University, where he obtained his Ph.D. degree in biology in 1970.

Haynes completed his first year of postdoctoral research at Brown University, where he worked on restriction enzymes. During this time, he became interested in sickle cell anemia, which led to a second postdoctoral appointment in biochemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he worked with Vernon Ingram, the scientist who discovered the amino acid difference between normal and sickle cell hemoglobin. In 1973, Haynes joined the faculty at the Meharry Medical School as a junior faculty member in the department of genetics and molecular medicine and the department of anatomy. His research was focused on why sickle cells were less deformable than normal. In 1979, he returned to Morehouse College as an associate professor of biology as well as the director of the Office of Health Professions. As part of his work, Haynes created a program for high school students interested in medical school. Haynes has also helped recruit minority students into science with the assistance of agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Haynes became the endowed David E. Packard Chair in Science at Morehouse College and chairman of the biology department in 1985. In 1991, he took a sabbatical and went to Brown University to continue his work on sickle cells. Since 1999, he has served as Dean of Science and Mathematics at Morehouse College.

Under Haynes administrative leadership, new buildings for both chemistry and biology were built at Morehouse College as well as a curriculum with an emphasis on lab work. Haynes has published papers on cell biology as well as on undergraduate STEM education.

J. K. Haynes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 14, 2011.

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Academic administrator and biologist J. K. Haynes (1943 - ) developed methods for detecting and preventing sickle cell anemia. He joined the faculty of Morehouse College in 1979 and later became Dean of the Division of Science and Mathematics.


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Timing Pairs

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of J.K. Haynes' interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - J.K. Haynes lists his favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - J.K. Haynes talks about his mother's family background</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - J.K. Haynes talks about his father's family background</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - J.K. Haynes recalls his childhood in Louisiana</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - J.K. Haynes talks about himself as a student</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - J.K. Haynes explains his family's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - J.K. Haynes recalls his father's funeral home business</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - J.K. Haynes recounts his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - J.K. Haynes talks about his interests during high school</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - J.K. Haynes talks about his experience in high school</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - J.K. Haynes talks about resemblance to certain family members</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - J.K. Haynes recalls his experience at Morehouse College under President Benjamin Mays</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - J.K. Haynes recalls student activism in Atlanta</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - J.K. Haynes talks about the influential science faculty at Morehouse College, part 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - J.K. Haynes talks about the influential science faculty at Morehouse College, part 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - J.K. Haynes talks about his graduate school experience at Brown University</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - J.K. Haynes talks about sickle cell anemia and relates his Ph.D. dissertation topic</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - J.K. Haynes describes his postdoctoral molecular biology research at Brown University</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - J.K. Haynes responds to a question about his work as a biologist</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - J.K. Haynes discusses the nature of post doctoral research</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - J.K. Haynes talks about financial problems at the Meharry Medical College</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - J.K. Haynes talks about his achievements in sickle cell anemia research, part 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - J.K. Haynes talks about his achievements in sickle cell anemia research, part 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - J.K. Haynes discusses his reaction to the first reported sickle cell anemia cure</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - J.K. Haynes talks about his research in sickle cell anemia, part 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - J.K. Haynes talks about his research in sickle cell anemia, part 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - J.K. Haynes discusses the nature of his scientific research and funding</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - J.K. Haynes describes Project Kaleidoscope</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - J.K. Haynes describes the history of the Nabrit-Mapp-McBay building at Morehouse College</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - J.K. Haynes talks about his involvement with the American Society for Cell Biology Minorities Affairs Committee</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - J.K. Haynes recalls Walter Massey's presidency at Morehouse College</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - J.K. Haynes talks about the sickle cell anemia drugs and treatments</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - J.K. Haynes reflects on the wisdom of his parents</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - J.K. Haynes talks about his academic promotions at Morehouse College</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - J.K. Haynes discusses health issues in the black community</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - J.K. Haynes reflects on balancing his administrative, research, and teaching responsibilities</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - J.K. Haynes talks about the changing focus of sickle cell anemia research</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - J.K. Haynes talks about his involvement with the World Learning School for International Training</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - J.K. Haynes describes his concept for a program to develop new science faculty</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - J.K. Haynes shares his hopes for Morehouse College's future</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - J.K. Haynes talks about what he would have done differently in his career</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - J.K. Haynes discusses the impact of advice from his mentors</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - J.K. Haynes reflects on his life's accomplishments</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - J.K. Haynes talks about his family and his likeness to Ebony editor, Lerone Bennett</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - J.K. Haynes responds to a question about how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - J.K. Haynes talks about his interest in art and music</a>







J.K. Haynes talks about the influential science faculty at Morehouse College, part 1
J.K. Haynes recalls Walter Massey's presidency at Morehouse College
Some people like Lonnie King, and I think that Lonnie King may have been here. He may have been a senior when I was a freshman so Lonnie was one of these guys with Julian [Bonds] and others. That's what they spent their time doing.$$Now, was David Satcher a biology major too?$$Yes.$$Okay, so did you see a lot of him in the biology department?$$Yeah, yeah. So one of the powerful influences on the biology majors during that time was a guy by the name of Roy Hunter. And so Roy Hunter was one of, Roy loved David Satcher, and so when I came along under Roy Hunter, and so when I give talks about my mentors, he's the one who I always mention first at Morehouse [College, Atlanta, Georgia].$$Now, why was Dr. Hunter so important?$$He was a powerful, powerful instructor. So he was a guy who had polio when he was a kid, and so he spent his life on crutches before he moved to a motorized cart. But when he taught at Morehouse, he was on crutches. Yet he could draw these beautiful diagrams of anatomy and embryos on the board, and he'd talk with such facility about the subject. And so for those--it turns out that he and Dr. [Frederick E.] Mapp who was the chair of the department at that time, did not necessarily get along. And so Roy Hunter's tenure at Morehouse was short-lived. But for those of us who came along during the time that he was there, or here, he was a tremendous influence on us.$$Now, where did he go when he left Morehouse, do you know?$$I think he became chair of the Department of Biology at Morgan State [University, Baltimore, Maryland]. And he eventually became chair of the Department of Biology at Atlanta University, and at some point, he went to work for Lou Sullivan at the Morehouse School of Medicine as an administrator.$$Okay.$$So one of the things that I regret most is not bringing him back to the faculty at Morehouse when I became chair of biology. He and I used to talk about that. I just couldn't pull it off. So one of the things that I did as chair of biology was to move in the direction of hiring people who not only taught but did research. So Roy was way beyond doing research, but he was such a giant that I wanted to have him in the midst just to have that history and tradition and the power that he conveyed just talking to students. And I just didn't pull it off. And he always reminded me, I'm still waiting for you to invite me back. I just, just couldn't do it.$$So, he's passed now?$$Yeah, he died, I guess, about ten years ago.$$Okay, okay, but a great mentor.$$Powerful mentor.$$Okay, now we always hear a lot about Henry McBay. Did you have him for--$$I took him for, I had him in general chemistry class, and was also powerfully influenced by him. People were more frightened by Henry McBay. So he's known for either producing chemists or producing politicians or ministers. So Maynard Jackson used to tell the story that the reason--because Maynard Jackson apparently wanted to be a physician when he came here. And so Henry McBay turned him towards politics.$$So in other words, he, you either succeeded sort of--$$That's right.$$--big time here or he pushed out of--$$That's right, right. So he was very demanding, put a lot of emphasis on the mathematical basis of chemistry. He would fill up the board with just equations, and he wrote beautifully. And his, he had sort of an extreme attitude about things, and so he frightened a lot of students. I mean I thought he was a great instructor. I enjoyed his style of lecturing. And I don't think I felt intimidated by him.$$That's interesting. Okay.$Okay. So in '95 [1995], Walter Massey becomes the ninth president of Morehouse [College, Atlanta, Georgia]. He's a physicist.$$Right.$$Did his presidency facilitate science at Morehouse?$$Not as much as we thought it would, although Walter [Massey] was very supportive of a number of things that we did. So one of the important things that Walter did was to create three divisions at the college. So we have Business and Economics, Social Sciences and Humanities, and Science and Math. That was his idea, and so we've split the college now into about three equal parts. With about a thousand students--at the time, he was here, we had about three thousand students. And so his idea was to reduce the scale of the college more like it looked, and to make it more like it looked when he was a student here, so when I was a student, there were only eight hundred students at Morehouse. So he was trying to promote faculty-faculty interaction, faculty-student interactions, etc. And that actually had a transformative effect. So when we created, when we brought the three--six departments together that constitute the Division of Science and Math, it's been a, there was an explosion of activity. And so we meet, as a faculty, every month. People are talking across disciplines. And at some point, students finishing the division will have a more interdisciplinary education, which is where we wanna go. We're developing interdisciplinary curricula, interdisciplinary research and so I think while, at the time, it didn't seem like such a momentous deal, it has had an enormous impact. We began the Division of Science and Math with a grant that we got from the Packard Foundation. Walter was on the board of the Packard Foundation. So that's very helpful. So Walter is connected to the titans of American industry. So he brought the heads of GE [General Electric, Fairfield, Connecticut], Motorola [Inc., Schaumburg, Illinois]. Walter is more of a scholar than he is a business person. So he's not known for twisting arms. And so they didn't leave perhaps as much money as they might, but they came to know about us. And so the current president [Robert M. Franklin] I think is more of an arm twister, and I think, so we're gonna reap the benefits of what Walter has established. But Walter had to deal--you know, people have said about Walter that he's a guy who thinks very broadly. He's now the president of the Art Institute of Chicago, right, so (laughter). So he's had a very broad prospective, and so I think that he was a wonderful president at Morehouse. I don't know that he could afford, because we had a number of problems that he had to deal with. I don't know that he could afford to just tackle the sciences. So I think what he did was to seed something. And the fruits of that will be manifested in the years ahead.