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Olivia A. Scriven

mathematician, educator, college administrator, and mentor to hundreds of black women in science, was born Etta Zuber in Tupelo, Mississippi, the younger of two girls of Walter A. Zuber, a physician, and Zadie L. Montgomery Zuber, a musician. The Zubers were part of a small, black middle class that chose to stay in economically devastated Tupelo during the Depression era. The Zubers' social standing, however, provided little insulation from the closed society that was characteristic of Jim Crow-era Mississippi. Etta attended segregated public schools. She graduated from George Washington High School in 1949 at the age of fifteen and left the security of her home to attend the all black Fisk University in Nashville Tennessee Young Etta had intended to major in chemistry and become a public school teacher But by her sophomore year she had decided that she liked mathematics better ...


Henry A. Hill was born in St. Joseph, North Carolina. He completed a B.A. at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1936 and a Ph.D. in chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1942. In 1961 he became president and founder of the ...


Kenneth R. Manning

chemist and businessman, was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, the son of William Anthony Hill II, the headwaiter at a local hotel, and Kate Anna Evans. Hill attended public elementary and secondary schools in St. Joseph and graduated from Bartlett High School in 1931. After completing his first year of college at Lewis Institute in Chicago (later a part of the Illinois Institute of Technology), he attended Johnson C. Smith University, an all-black institution in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated in 1936 with a BS cum laude in Mathematics and Chemistry.

Hill spent the 1937–1938 academic year as a special student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The following year he studied at the University of Chicago, where he was one of two African American graduate students in the chemistry department. While the other black student, Warren Henry went on to earn a PhD at ...


Robert M. Dixon

physicist, science and engineering administrator, and college president, was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the first of two sons born to Almar C. Massey, a manual laborer for the Hercules Chemical Company, and Essie Nelson, an elementary school teacher and principal. Massey received support and encouragement not only from his parents but also from a cadre of excellent African American teachers, who, as a resolt of restricted employment opportunities in rigidly segregated Mississippi, pursued teaching with passion and dedication. Massey attended the Sixteenth Section Elementary School in Hattiesburg, where his mother taught, and the Royal Street High School in the same city. He excelled in school and entered Atlanta's Morehouse College on a Ford Foundation scholarship after completing the tenth grade. As a student at Morehouse, Massey, like Martin Luther King Jr. and other African American men who attended the college between 1940 and 1967 ...


Jeannette Elizabeth Brown

chemist, was born Margaret Ellen Mayo in Suffolk, Virginia, the third child of J. Clifton Mayo, a landscape gardener who served in the army during World War II, and Martha Artis Mayo, a domestic worker. Margaret's parents separated while she was very young. During her early years she and her siblings became orphaned when her mother died, and her education suffered. The family was raised by the neighbors in order to keep them together and then by their father's mother Fannie Mae Johnson Mayo Her father died and her grandmother became ill and could not care for the family There was no room for Margaret when her siblings were placed with a relative But early in school she realized that a good education was the way to success and she thrived even though she had to work as a maid during high school to support herself ...