Black History: Special Delivery!!
Alice Augusta Ball (1892 – 1916) was the first to develop an effective treatment to cure leprosy (Hansen’s Disease). It was not until years after her death that she received the credit she deserved. Ball was born in Seattle, Washington. Her mother Laura was a photographer and her father, James P. Ball, Jr. was a lawyer. She had 3 siblings, two older brothers, and one younger sister. The family lived comfortably and by today’s standards would have been considered middle class. The family moved to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1903 hoping that the warmer climate would be better for her father’s arthritis. James Ball, Sr. died shortly after the move and the family relocated back to Seattle. Ball graduated from high school in 1910 and then attended college at the University of Washington and the College of Hawaii (University of Hawaii); earning a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1912 and a bachelors degree in pharmacy in 1914, both from the University of Washington. She then transferred to the College of Hawaii and was the first African American as well as the first woman to graduate with an M.S. degree in chemistry in 1915. Upon graduation, she was offered a teaching and research position, making her the first woman chemistry instructor at the College of Hawaii at the age of 23. Continue reading “Alice Ball: African American Chemist Who Developed First Successful Treatment of Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)”