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Lloyd Hall: Trailblazing Chemist And Pioneer In Food Preservation

Welcome to Black Mail where we bring you Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Black food chemist Lloyd Augustus Hall was born in Elgin, Illinois, in 1894. Attending high school in Aurora, IL, he was one of only five black students at his high school. Hall graduated with honors in 1912. In 1914, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from Northwestern University. In 1916 received a Master of Science degree from the University of Chicago. He married Myrrhene Newsome on September 23, 1919. She was a teacher from Macomb, IL. The couple had two children. Following graduation, He was offered a position by Western Electric Company through a telephone interview. However, when he showed up for his first day of work, he was told, “We don’t take niggers”. Hall then interviewed and was hired by the City of Chicago as a chemist. He would go on to work for several organizations including the U.S. government and United Nations. The majority of his 34-year career was spent at Griffith Laboratories. 

Hall developed methods to keep food fresh while maintaining flavor. Many of the chemicals still used to preserve food today resulted from his pioneering research. Before his groundbreaking discoveries, food preservation was challenging, and the methods used often significantly altered the taste and flavor of foods. The most common food preservatives consisted of a mixture of sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite. This combination often made foods bitter and unpalatable. One of Hall’s most successful inventions addressed this problem. In 1932, he developed a variety of complex chemical salts that could be used as a preservative without negatively impacting the taste of food. This discovery prompted his employer at the time, Griffith Laboratories, to open a factory dedicated to producing his chemical salt compounds. He also invented processes to sterilize spices, other food materials, and pharmaceuticals still being used today. He also developed an innovative method to preserve meats known as “flash-drying”

Continue reading “Lloyd Hall: Trailblazing Chemist And Pioneer In Food Preservation”

Loney Clinton Gordon:  Key Contributor To Improving Whooping Cough Vaccine

Welcome to Black Mail, where we bring you Black History: Special Delivery!!

Born in Forrest City, Arkansas, Loney Clinton Gordon (1915-1999) moved to Grand Rapids, MI, with her family as a young child.  She graduated from South High School in Grand Rapids and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in home economics and chemistry from Michigan State College (now Michigan State University).  Following graduation, Gordon fulfilled her goal of obtaining employment as a dietician in Virginia.  The role was challenging due to the racism and discrimination she experienced.  Gordon was informed that white chefs would not take orders from a female dietitian.  Due to the treatment she received, Gordon left Virginia and returned home to Grand Rapids.  She continued to face challenges finding employment as a dietitian due to her race.

During this time, Dr. Pearl Kendrick and Dr. Grace Eldering sought to employ a laboratory technician to support their whooping cough vaccine research at Western Michigan Laboratories (Kent Community Hospital). According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), Pertussis, or whooping cough, is an acute infectious disease.  Outbreaks of pertussis were first identified in the 16th century by Guillaume de Baillou. In the 20th century, pertussis was one of the most common childhood diseases and a major cause of childhood death in the United States. Before the availability of pertussis vaccine in the 1940s, more than 200,000 cases of pertussis were reported annually. Since widespread use of the vaccine began, incidence has decreased more than 75% compared with the prevaccine era.

Continue reading “Loney Clinton Gordon:  Key Contributor To Improving Whooping Cough Vaccine”

Alice Ball:  African American Chemist Who Developed First Successful Treatment of Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)

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alice ball
Alice Ball (1892-1916)

 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)”

Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician Dead at 101

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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Katherine Johnson (1918 – 2020)

On, Monday, February 24, 2020, NASA announced that African American American physicist and mathematician, Katherine Johnson has died.   She was 101 years old.  In 1969 she calculated the flight path for NASA’s historic Apollo space mission to the moon.  The movie, “Hidden Figures” chronicled Johnson’s experiences along with that of several other African-American women at NASA.

Employed by NASA for over 30 years, she retired in 1986.  Johnson’s love for math dates back to her childhood. She loved to “count everything”.  A gifted student, Johnson graduated from high school at age 14.  On November 24, 2015, she was one of 17 individuals to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  She is truly a pioneer!  Johnson was also a distinguished member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc!

We salute you, Soror Johnson!! Well done!  Rest Well!

Click here to view statement   NASA

 

 

Just What The Doctor Ordered:  Black Men In White Coats

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

BMIWC

 

 

Dr. Dale Okorodudu is committed to connecting with black male youth and encouraging them to consider careers in the medical field.  Currently, only Black Men In White Coats was established in 2013 by Okorodudu after he learned the number of black men entering the medical field was decreasing.  In 2011 there were even less black males entering the medical field than in 1978. His mission for the organization “is to inspire the next generation of physician leaders and to diversify the field of medicine with a special emphasis on Black males.”.  The event is open to all genders.  Currently, on 6% of physicians in the U.S. are black.  The 2019 event was held at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  Several other medical schools from around the country also participated including, University of North Carolina, Duke University, University of Colorado and UCLA.

Students, parents, teachers, medical professionals, and community leaders participated in the event.  The event welcomes students who are in the 3rd – 12th grades. Students are able to connect with mentors and other supports that can aid them in pursuing education and career options in the medical field; while parents are also given resources and guidance to understand how to support their child in pursuing a career in the medical field.  For more info on the organization, visit their website: http://www.blackmeninwhitecoats.org/

Check out the video from the 2019 event:  https://youtu.be/JsRlwGS2GqM

Sources:

https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/blogs/culture/black-men-in-white-coats-is-on-a-mission-to-show-black-boys-that-they-can-be-doctors-too?fbclid=IwAR0i7sJlx7QewrQqCuWP1zy9lr5FAjRWLEhspjZ0FhfysCiZ8h3v9Ab7aCA

http://www.blackmeninwhitecoats.org/summit/

Trachette Jackson:  Black Mathematician Making An Impact In Cancer Research

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Trachette
Dr. Trachette Jackson

Dr. Trachette Jackson (1972 – ) is a professor and mathematician.  Jackson has focused her mathematical research in the area of cancer oncology.  She and her research team,  are exploring how mathematical modeling can be used to gain a broader understanding of cancerous tumor growth and how it is initiated.  Her research has gained international attention. Jackson received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1994 from Arizona State University and earned her masters and Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1996 and 1998.  Her Ph.D. thesis focused on mathematical models and their connection to chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients. Continue reading “Trachette Jackson:  Black Mathematician Making An Impact In Cancer Research”

Kenyan Engineer Roy Allela Creates Gloves That Translate Sign Language To Audible Speech

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Roy Allela

Kenyan inventor and engineer Roy Allela is developing technology that allows sign language to be translated into audible speech.  Inspired to explore ways to improve communication with a niece who is deaf motivated Allela to explore how technology might be able to bridge the gap.  Neither Allela or other family members know sign language.   The “Sign-IO” gloves use Bluetooth technology to translate signals from sensors on the glove when a person is making sign language gestures.  Continue reading “Kenyan Engineer Roy Allela Creates Gloves That Translate Sign Language To Audible Speech”

Dr. Roscoe C. Giles: First African American To Be Become Certified By The American Board of Surgery

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Roscoe Giles
Dr. Roscoe C. Giles (1890 – 1970)

Roscoe Conkling Giles (1890 – 1970) was born in Albany, New York. He was the first African American to become certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1938 at the age of 27. After graduating from high school in Brooklyn, NY, he was awarded a scholarship to Cornell University and would be the first African American to earn a medical degree there.  He was 16 years old when he began his studies at Cornell.  While there, in 1907, Giles became one of the first members of African American fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. which was started at Cornell in 1906. Continue reading “Dr. Roscoe C. Giles: First African American To Be Become Certified By The American Board of Surgery”

Dr. Marian Croak:  Inventor of (VOIP) Technology Behind Skype, Video Conferencing, And Text-To-Give Messaging

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

marian croak

Dr. Marian Croak (1955 – )

The African American woman that made it possible for us to enjoy video conferencing, and internet/wifi generated phone calls is Dr. Marian Croak. Croak created Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP technology makes it possible for voice communications and other media to be transmitted over the internet (internet protocol or IP).  In 1982, she began her career at AT & T/Bell Laboratories.  At that time Croak anticipated the advent of using the internet to transmit voice communication and other types of media and began to strategize on how to expand capabilities in this area.

Croak has over one hundred patents related to VoIP technologies and an additional one hundred patents pending.  “Text to give” technology that is often used to collect donations during natural disasters and other crises was also developed by Croak.  She filed a patent for this technology in 2005.  This technology was groundbreaking in changing how money is donated to charities and non-profit organizations. After 32 years at AT & T/Bell Laboratories, Croak joined Google in 2014; serving as the Vice President of Engineering.

In this role, she has overseen Google’s expansion efforts in new markets; which included technology for Project Loon.  Project Loon employs the use of balloons to help with increasing the reach of communications technology.  Croak was inducted into the Women In Technology Hall of Fame in 2013.  She enjoys long distance running and is the mother of three adult children.

Sources:

https://blackdoctor.org/525473/dr-marian-croak-creator-of-voip-the-technology-behind-skype-sms-messaging-more/2/

https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/croak-marian-r-1955/

http://www.witi.com/center/witimuseum/halloffame/319632/Marian-R.-Croak,-Ph.D.-Senior-Vice-President,-Applications-&-Services-Infrastructure-AT&T-Labs/

https://face2faceafrica.com/article/womens-history-month-salute-marian-croak

 

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