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DeAnna Beane

Informal science educator and administrator DeAnna Banks Beane was born on January 25, 1940 in Washington, D.C. She became interested in science and nature as a child. Beane attended Howard University and received her B.S. degree in zoology in 1962. Initially she was interested in medical school, but during temporary science teaching assignment, she discovered the joy of introducing science to young people who lacked access to science-rich opportunities. Committed to a career in education, she went on to earn her M.Ed. degree from Rutgers University in 1973.

Between 1966 and 1971, Beane taught science at schools for pregnant teenage girls in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Illinois, and New Brunswick, New Jersey. From 1971 to 1981, she taught earth science, general science, physical science and gifted/talented classes to middle school students in Plainfield, New Jersey. Returning to Washington, D.C. in 1982, Beane worked extensively on issues of racial equity in education. Beane was employed by the Mid-Atlantic Center for Race Equity (a federally-funded school desegregation assistance center at The American University) from 1983 to 1985 where she became interested in the issues of equity in science education. An extensive review of the literature sparked her particular interest in the role that informal science education could play in helping to level the science playing field for African American, Latino, and American Indian children. In 1985, Beane was appointed education director for the National Urban Coalition where she developed a national program to increase minority community involvement in science and mathematics. She joined the Association of Science and Technology Centers, Inc. (ASTC) in 1991 where she directed the Youth Achievement through Learning, Involvement, Volunteering, and Employment initiative (YouthALIVE!), which brought diversity and youth development programs to more than seventy science and children’s museums around the country. As director of Partnerships for Learning at ASTC from 2001 until retirement in 2006, Beane continued her efforts to increase the diversity of staff and visitors in science museums.

Beane is the author of Mathematics and Science: Critical Filters for the Future of Minority Students, a manual that explores the research on factors influencing non-Asian minority student participation in mathematics and science, and identifies intervention strategies and programs. Her articles on school-community-museum partnerships and museum based pre-employment youth programs and their impact on teenagers have appeared in academic and professional journals such as Journal of Negro Education, Journal of Museum Education, and Dimensions: The Bi-monthly News Journal of the Association of Science and Technology Centers.

DeAnna Banks Beane was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 12, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.020

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/12/2013

Last Name

Beane

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Banks

Schools

Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School

Chicago State University

Rutgers University

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

DeAnna

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BEA10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

Never doubt what a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has been successful. -Margaret Mead

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/25/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Informal science educator DeAnna Beane (1940 - ) was director of Youth ALIVE! (Youth Achievement through Learning, Involvement, Volunteering and Employment) at the Association of Science and Technology Centers, Inc.

Employment

Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC)

Delete

National Urban Coalition

Mid-Atlantic Center for Race Equity

InterAmerica Research

Plainfield Public Schools

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of DeAnna Beane's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane describes her mother's growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane describes her grandmother's and her mother's education and career in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane talks about Howard University and her first encounter with its president, Mordecai Johnson

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane discusses perceptions of beauty amongst African Americans while she was at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane describes her father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane talks about how her parents met at Howard University, and their long marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane describes her father's career as an educator

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - DeAnna Beane talks about her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - DeAnna Beane describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - DeAnna Beane describes her memories of growing up in Washington, D.C. during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Washington, District of Columbia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane talks about attending Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, District of Columbia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane talks about his interests as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane recalls the U.S. Supreme Court passing the Brown versus Board of Education decision

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane talks about her experience in elementary school, and the importance of parents being involved in their children's education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane talks about her exposure to science in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - DeAnna Beane talks about segregation in Washington, District of Columbia, while she was growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - DeAnna Beane talks about attending the Jones-Haywood School of Dance in Washington, District of Columbia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane describes her experience in middle school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane talks about her introduction to science in middle school and her experience at science fairs in Washington, District of Columbia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane describes her experience in a newly-integrated high school in Washington, D.C. - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane describes her experience in a newly-integrated high school in Washington, D.C. - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane talks about the influence of her biology teacher in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane talks about the desegregation of schools in the 1950s and reflects upon her experience in a newly-integrated high school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane describes her decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane describes her experience at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane talks about Howard University and HistoryMaker Lloyd Ferguson

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane talks about studying zoology at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane describes her reasons for to not applying to medical school

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane talks about her introduction to teaching science

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - DeAnna Beane talks about her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in Arlington, Virginia in the 1960s

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane describes her involvement in social activism in Arlington, Virginia and Chicago, Illinois, and taking education courses in Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane talks about earning her master's degree in urban education at Rutger's University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane describes her involvement in community organizing, and the skills that she learned during her master's degree in urban education

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane talks about teaching at a middle school in New Jersey, her separation from her husband and working as a science writer and researcher

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane talks about her work with the Mid-Atlantic Center for Race Equity

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane talks about her publication entitled, 'Mathematics and science: Critical filters for the future of minority students'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane talks about the applications of her publication, 'Mathematics and science: Critical filters for the future of minority students'

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane describes her work as the director of the 'Say YES to a Youngster's Future' program at the National Urban Coalition

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane describes her work as the director of the 'YouthALIVE!' program at the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane describes her work as the director of the 'YouthALIVE!' program at the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane describes the success of the 'YouthALIVE!' program implemented by the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane describes the success of the 'YouthALIVE!' program implemented by the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - DeAnna Beane describes her contribution as the director of Partnerships for Learning at the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC)

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - DeAnna Beane describes the concept of "object-based learning"

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane talks about youth programs at science centers and museums across the United States - part one

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane talks about youth programs at science centers and museums across the United States - part two

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane talks about her life after retiring from the Association of Science-Technology Centers in 2006

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane reflects upon her career

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - DeAnna Beane talks about her family

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - DeAnna Beane reflects upon generating community-wide awareness about the importance of STEM education

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane describes her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$4

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
DeAnna Beane talks about her publication entitled, 'Mathematics and science: Critical filters for the future of minority students'
DeAnna Beane talks about her introduction to science in middle school and her experience at science fairs in Washington, District of Columbia
Transcript
When I finally got it all together, I had voluminous notes. I sorted them out into affective factors, which have to do with feelings and cognitive factors, which have to do with what's happening in the classroom in terms of the learning experience. And some of the affective factors involved attitudes towards science. And I based this on what I could find in the research. And at that time, I don't know what it's like now, but this was based on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, that was the first national assessment that was done in science. It was at the end of the 'up's [1970s]. At that time, African American or black children ex--at a young age, nine years old, expressed a higher interest in science than their white counterparts. Well who knew that? Nobody would know. So as I found these things out, then I thought it would be really important to help teachers know that because it gave them something to build on. So the whole idea about attitudes in science, the kids liked math even though they weren't excelling in it, at least they had a positive attitude toward it. The influence of significant others, parents, the impact that parents, teachers, peers, siblings can have on a child's feeling about themselves as a science student, their interest in science, very much influenced by the people around you. The people who serve as role models. The whole idea of seeing people who look like you who are doing science. That's another one of those affective factors. Persistence, the ability to hang in there and not give up. When it gets hard and you don't understand something, not getting frustrated and saying can't do it. I learned about--in preparing, in doing that work, I learned about an area called locus of control. And to this day I am still wrestling with that concept. Whether I have an internal child or whether I have an internal locus of control whereby I feel that I can determine my fate, I can change the outcomes of things. Or I have an external locus of control whereby you did that to me. You didn't give me this opportunity. You didn't let me do this. Or I need you to tell me what to do. I need you to solve the problem for me. So this whole issue of locus of control to me is still a central issue that needs better understanding. And we need tools for addressing it. But it was one--for me it was one of the most important of the factors that dealt with the affective or emotional component. Another one was, which affected my work thereafter, was prior experiences. If you've had no experiences in science to build on and you get into a chemistry class, you know but the research was showing that our kids did not have sufficient prior experiences to really take full advantage of what was going on in the classroom. By prior experiences, we're talking about the kinds of experiences that middle class children take for granted. They go to summer camps. They go to museums, they go to zoos, botanical gardens. They have all of these science enriching experiences as a norm from early childhood on up. And our kids were missing those things. And that helped shaped you know my, my career thereafter, those, a lot of those factors. The cognitive factors had to do with academic deficiencies, had to do with teacher expectations. You know what kinds of attitudes did teachers come into the classrooms with? What did they expect of children of color? Had to do with teachings, or learning styles as we talked earlier. Had to do with how teachers felt about science. We're all looking at--I'm only looking at elementary schools and the fact that it was a challenge for many elementary schools to have teachers who enjoyed doing science and who were comfortable with mathematics.$We did not have a strong science program at that time [at Banneker Junior High School, Washington, District of Columbia]. We didn't have any equipment and I remember the day our science teacher put a microscope on the front desk and said get in line and come up and take a look. It was mind blowing. It was wonderful. He could see I was hooked. And he later asked me, told me he wanted me to talk to my father [Howard Percell Banks] and ask him to help me prepare a project for the city-wide science fair. And we did that and then so that was my excursion into a broader world of people who enjoyed science.$$Now what was your project?$$That first project was on landscaping a home. It, it did not reflect what I later came to appreciate about, you know, what science projects needed to do, but it did well in the science fair, so--for seventh grade.$$Now were you competing city-wide against all the students?$$City-wide, city-wide, yes.$$I mean and the white ones too?$$Yeah, yeah. So the science fair was my first excursion outside of my warm cocoon of the black community. The fair was held in the gym of American University [Washington, D.C.], which was in a part of town I didn't know existed. That first year my father took me. The second year my parents [Howard Percell Banks and Buena Vista Marie Williams] allowed me to take public transportation. So on the bus I got to the bureau, and the National Bureau of Standards used to be here in town. I got to pass the National Bureau of Standards, it was just amazing. As a result of my years of participation, one year I did a project--we had visited Grand Canyon, which is really impressive. So one year I did a project of a cross-section of Grand Canyon which clearly with my father's help because I wasn't getting the help at school, but it brought me into the world of geology. And then when I got to high school my, my project was different. I had a, a really good biology teacher and she you know, encouraged me to just explore something I wanted to know more about. But those years in junior high with a teacher who's field was not science, and I don't think he really loved science. I think he was assigned to teach science. But he opened the door for me to participate in the science fairs and I was elected to the Washington Junior Academy of Sciences. And as a academy member for some reason it seemed to have been on the governing board or something, I don't even know how those things happen. But I was exposed to other young people who enjoyed science and it wasn't seen as weird, you know to do that.$$Now were, were your interests, do you think your interests were considered weird by your peers in those days?$$No, not weird. I don't think they were weird. I mean one of my peers was Gertrude Branson, whose father was head of the physics department at Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia].$$That's Herman Branson.$$Herman Branson, so and Gertrude died this past summer. But not all the, not all the kids in our group were into science fair projects. But having each other and going to those meetings made it kind of, you know, special. And then seeing, seeing kids who were very serious. One young woman who always won the national prize, had terrible allergies, so she did all of her projects on research, on allergies. Which is just astounding to me. I didn't have any of that in my world, so--$$With the allergies or any--the whole--$$I didn't have the, the concept of you can pick a problem and work on it and study it and try to understand it and get to the core and make recommendations, come up with hypotheses and reach conclusions and you know, that kind of dogged determination to solve a problem in an area of science was a new experience for me. So the science fair was broadening and participating cause once you're a member of the Junior Academy, then you had to help put on the sci--the city-wide science fair so you had to help set up, hostess, all the--those kinds of activities.$$So let me just, okay now, now being--your proximity to Howard put you in touch with--you said your best friend's father, Dr. Herman Branson [physicist and chemist who worked on the alpha helix protein structure] who's a scientist and he became the president of Central State [University, Wilberforce, Ohio] later on and some other things.$$Right of Lincoln [University, Chester County, Pennsylvania].$$Central too, he was president of Central State in Ohio.$$Okay.$$That's why I know him.$$Okay, okay.$$But he--so you got a lot of, you got like the Howard Medical School over there, you got like physics department over there and chemistry department over--did, I mean so black scientists were in the community. Were you aware of, of--$$No, no, not only that. I mean it's interesting you, you ask that question because I began--I mean yesterday I was thinking about what did I know about careers? I knew nothing about careers. I knew nothing about what people did with science. I, I mean I went all through high school not knowing what you could do and my thought was I'll become a doctor. I'll be a pediatrician. It wasn't until I was probably halfway through college or three quarters of the way through college before it occurred to me you might be able to do something else with this, you know. You have this--but it, it took a lot. It was probably my senior year before I found that there was something I enjoyed doing enough right within the science itself to pursue it. But that was pretty, pretty late in the--$$Okay.$$And also we didn't have any--unlike now where you have bridge programs, you have programs in the summer that are science rich. The only thing I had was the [Washington] Junior Academy [of Sciences]. And the Junior Academy would arrange for us to visit science rich places in the summer. I saw my first cadaver on a, on a trip to--was it GW's [George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia] Medical School with the Washington Junior Academy of Sciences. Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, they took us on a trip there and where they have a--they still have it, an icon. It's a giant model of the heart that you can walk through and feel the beats and go through the, the various segments of the heart, auricles and ventricles. So I would say probably more than anything, the Junior Academy served as my support system. But I didn't have any, any mentors in science per se.$$So you were able to get involved in the Junior Academy because of the teacher at Banneker?$$Because of the science fair.$$Science fair, okay.$$I had--I got awards for two of my projects and so that then meant I guess you're invited to join the academy or something like--or maybe the teacher recommended, I don't know. Fortunately, the teacher had great faith in me.$$Okay, this is the one at Banneker [Junior High School, Washington, D.C.], right?$$At Banneker.

Jeannette Brown

Organic chemist and historian, Jeannette E. Brown was born in Bronx, New York on May 13, 1934 to Freddie Brown, a building superintendant and Ada Brown. At age six, Brown was inspired by her family doctor, Arthur C. Logan, to pursue a career in science. Brown graduated from New Dorp High School on Staten Island in 1952 and in 1956, she received her B.S. degree in chemistry from Hunter College as one of two African Americans in the first class of Hunter College's new chemistry program. Brown then earned her M.S. degree in organic chemistry in 1958 from the University of Minnesota and was the first African American female to do so. Her thesis was entitled, “Study of Dye and Ylide Formation in Salts of 9-(P-dimethylaminophenyl) Flourene.”

After earning her M.S. degree, Brown joined CIBA Pharmaceutical Company as a research chemist, where she developed drugs for diseases such as tuberculosis and coccidiosis, which afflicts chickens. In 1969, Brown was hired by Merck & Co. Research Laboratories where she continued synthesizing compounds for testing as potential new drugs. In 1986, she was appointed chairperson of the Project SEED Committee for the American Chemical Society. She served on the faculty at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) from 1993 to 2002 as a visiting professor of chemistry and faculty associate. Beginning in 1998, Brown also served as the regional director of the New Jersey Statewide System Initiative, improving science education in Essex and Hudson counties. In 2008, Brown contributed seven biographies of African American chemists for the African American National Biography, including those of Dr. Marie Daly and Dr. Jennie Patrick, the first African American women to receive their Ph.D. degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering, respectively. She went on to publish her own book in 2011 entitled, African American Women Chemists .

Brown has received recognition including outstanding alumni awards from both Hunter College and the University of Minnesota. Throughout her career, she has been involved in countless professional societies including the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCCHE) and the American Chemical Society (ACS). In 2007, Brown was an Association of Women in Science (AWIS) fellow. She also earned recognition as an American Chemical Society fellow and a Chemical Heritage Foundation Ullyott Scholar.

Jeannette Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on 01/16/2012.

Accession Number

A2012.010

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/16/2012

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Middle Name

E

Occupation
Schools

New Dorp High School

Hunter College

University of Minnesota

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jeannette

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

BRO51

Favorite Season

Winter

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

101 years ago.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/13/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hillsborough

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Organic chemist Jeannette Brown (1934 - ) is the first African American woman to earn an M.S. degree from the University of Minnesota's chemistry department and is the author of, 'African American Women Chemists'.

Employment

CIBA Pharmaceutical Company

Merck & Co.

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jeannette Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown describes her mother's history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown talks about her mother's education and work experience

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown describes her father's history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jeannette Brown talks about racism in North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jeannette Brown discusses her father's education and work experience

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jeannette Brown describes her parents' early life together

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jeannette Brown describes her relationship with her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jeannette Brown talks about her relationship with her father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown remembers the her early childhood years

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown talks about having tuberculosis and her early interest in science

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown reminisces about her early school days in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown talks about Winthrop Junior High School and growing up in New York's Flatbush area

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jeannette Brown remembers her time at Prospect Heights High School and New Dorp High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jeannette Brown talks about her study of science in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown talks about preparing for college and deciding which college to attend

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown talks about studying chemistry at Hunter College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown talks about why she chose to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown discusses her research and her discovery of liquid crystals

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jeannette Brown remembers the racial climate in Minnesota in 1958

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown describes attitudes about blacks and women at University of Minnesota in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown talks about her days in the laboratory at Ciba Pharmaceuticals

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown talks about the history of the United States chemical industry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown tells about her career at Merck Pharmaceuticals

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jeannette Brown describes her work on Primaxin at Merck Pharmaceuticals

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown reflects on her work as a chemist in the pharmaceutical industry

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown talks about NOBCChE, Dr. Marie Daley, and her interest in history

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown talks about her difficulty at Merck Pharmaceuticals, including an adverse physical reaction

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown describes the atmosphere at Merck Pharmaceuticals and mentoring other black female chemists

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jeannette Brown talks about her work at Merck Pharmaceuticals to attract more African Americans chemists

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jeannette Brown talks about students she met at Grambling State University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown talks about her induction into Iota Sigma Pi Honor Society

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown talks about her work with the American Chemical Society and economically disadvantaged youth

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown talks about her work with the National Science Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown discusses the Percy Julian Task Force and the research for her book

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jeannette Brown talks about the female scientists featured in her book about Africaa American Female Chemists

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jeannette Brown shares the response to her book and need for science education

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jeannette Brown talks about the need for quality science education

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jeannette Brown reflects on the ethical responsibility of chemists

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown reflects on her career, her successes, and her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown talks about her family life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown talks about her hobbies

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jeannette Brown tells how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jeannette Brown shares photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Jeannette Brown talks about having tuberculosis and her early interest in science
Jeannette Brown tells about her career at Merck Pharmaceuticals
Transcript
Okay, now, tell me if I'm moving ahead too fast, but I know at a certain juncture, you got sick, right? And --$$Oh, yeah, when I was a little--okay, we, as I might have said, we lived in Washington Heights, New York [New York], and we lived at 436 West 160th Street. And that's where my father [Freddie Brown] was super. At age four or five, I got very ill, and they put me in the hospital. Columbia University Medical School [New York, New York] had a place called Vanderbilt Clinic which is up in Washington Heights, where we used to go all the time. One of the doctors there, and I think, as I look back on it, Arthur Logan, he was an intern there at that time. But he lived in the house that we lived in. And so he was my doctor. They put me in Babies Hospital [Babies and Children's Hospital of New York, New York, New York]. I remember being in a crib. I thought I was in jail (laughter). I think I saw all the bars around me. And so when I got better, I think what I had was living in New York, I had Infantile TB [Tuberculosis]. I think that's what I had. But anyway, so living in New York, when I saw Dr. Logan later on, 'cause he lived in my building, I said, "Well, how do you become a scientist?" And, oh, no, "How do you become a doctor?" He said, "Oh, you study science," you know. And I have a picture, in fact, when I saw the five year olds at the Science Museum the other day, I said, Ah, they were that small and so was I. You know, I looked up at him, and I said, "Okay." And I decided that, yeah, Science was something that I'm gonna learn because I wanted to be a doctor like Dr. Logan.$$Now, was Dr. Logan a black doctor?$$Um-hum.$$Okay.$$Yeah, Arthur Logan. There is a wing of Harlem Hospital [Harlem Hospital Center, New York, New York] named for him.$$Okay.$$I now talk to his--Adele Logan was his daughter, and they lived in the house. And she was about two or three years younger than I am. And we've met as adults. And I've got a, I've got to tell her that my book is out. I have, you know, because I've met, I've talked to her since. And she's a writer too.$$Okay, Adele--$$Adele Logan, yeah.$$Okay.$$Adele, I'm wanna think of what her married name is, oh, Adele Logan Alexander. That's her married name.$$What kind of books does she write?$$She wrote history. She's a historian. And she wrote her family history in, on her mother's side, not on her father's side.$$Okay, all right, all right. Okay, so then were you consciously thinking of concentrating on Science when you were in school then, as a result of that?$$Yeah, somehow or other, it's--I don't know. He [Dr. Arthur Logan] must have made an impression on me, and I decided, oh, yes, Science sounds like fun. The, where we lived in forty--in the Washington Heights, the library was right across the street. So I would go there for story hour. And my mother would take me across the street. It was, it wasn't a very big, you know, big street with a lot of traffic. And we'd go for story hour. And later on in years, I would go to the library, I started looking up books about what they called space at the time because there was no space travel. And as we moved from house to house 'cause my father, as I said, would get the job as a superintendent. And that included an apartment. So when he would lose that job, he would get to another job. We went to the Bronx [New York], and when I was in third grade. And I remember this, in third-grade class that I lived in--that I had there, was the Science room. So I sat right next to the fish, the goldfish bowl. I had goldfish too that I worked on as a Scientist. I think I killed 'em. And so we moved to the Bronx, and then the next job was in Brooklyn [New York]. So we moved to Brooklyn, and I was still interested in Science and things like that. So we had two jobs in Brooklyn that my father, you know, my father was the superintendent, the super's kid. And, but I was still, you know, I wanted to learn, and I wanted to be a scientist because I wanted to be a doctor. So I was always interested in, you know, learning everything there was to learn. One of the reasons why we moved out of Manhattan to the Bronx was the first grade--well, I, we skipped kindergarten.$$$Okay, well, tell us about Merck?$$Yeah, well, one of the reasons why I got to Merck was one of the women who worked with me in Ciba, her husband was a manager at Merck. And he was--this was, the Civil Rights Act had come. He was mandated to go out and look for African Americans in Science. Well, I said, well, I wanted to change jobs. So I was talking to my girlfriend, and she says, "Oh, I'll ask my husband." And so she did. And he brought me in for an interview. And they really wanted me. They wanted me, I guess, also because of my--I had, by that time I had some publications, I guess, from Ciba or pretty close and my expertise. But when I looked, later on when I looked at my personnel file, which I could, the very first page, which they forgot to take off, said, "to be filled by an African American", and I went "Umm". And the woman who was showing it to me happened to be, the personnel, head of personnel, an African American woman chemist. And she, she nearly died that they had forgotten to take that page out, the first page. But anyway, so I was hired at Merck. And all the guys said, oh, well, you came in as a legacy because of the Civil Rights. And, no, I came because of my, you know, my credentials, you know. I could do independent research, and while I was there I did. I mean what I liked about Merck was they would give me a project, and, you know, we all work in teams. So I would be, I would have a piece of the project that the team was going to work on. And you're gonna work, mostly I liked to do cyclopropyl compounds 'cause I had done that at Ciba. And so, okay, you'll do the cyclopropyl derivative. And so I would go off and study how to make this compound and come up with a plan and try to implement the plan. We would get together in group meetings and I'd get some advice from my bosses or the other members of the group. But most of the time in the lab, we were just doing our own thing. When we got together with a group, then they would say, okay, do this, do that, do other things. Once we got a target and a compound, then we'd just go do it and come up with it--and later on in our career, we started to have deadlines because it was management by objectives. And so we had to have objectives and by the year--by the third quarter, we will have, and by the fourth quarter, we will have. And we needed to have compounds ready for the biologists to test by Friday. Okay, if my compound is not ready, you know, totally analyzed and ready to go by Friday--well, if I didn't think it was gonna be there by Friday, I, you know, just worked, you know. You'd go in the labs, you know, 24 hours or whatever, Saturday, Sunday or whatever, to get the job done 'cause I had to have it there for the biologist who was gonna do the tests. And he was ready with--and he or she were ready with their animals or whatever they want to test it on.$$Okay, what kinds of things did you work on--well, let me pause here for a second. And then we'll pick up after--.