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Ann Zeidman-Karpinski

chemist, author, and activist, was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of John Goode, a clerk in the U.S. War Department, and Eslanda Cardoza Goode, an osteopath and beautician. Eslanda, or Essie as she was known to her friends, attended the integrated public schools in New York and finished high school in just three years, when she was sixteen years old. She won a scholarship to attend the University of Illinois. Originally encouraged to major in domestic science, she was so bored after two years that she considered leaving. An adviser asked her what classes she liked, and when she said that chemistry was her favorite subject, she was encouraged to pursue that instead. For her senior year she attended Columbia University Teachers College.

Through her adviser at Columbia and due to the labor shortages created by World War I Robeson secured employment as a chemist ...