• Microbigals

Black Lives Matter in Microbiology: History's Top Black Scientists

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

The Black Microbiologists Association

If you are looking to support Black Microbiologists or are a black microbiologist looking for a community check out The Black Microbiologists Association. They aim to amplify Black scientists in microbiology and create a community among them. They host a black in Micro Week in September. Find out more here!

Black Male Microbiologists

We've all heard of Robert Koch and Jon Snow. You know about the great Louis Pasteur and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. These are the famous scientists we learn about in microbiology 101. But, just like every other field, there are so many minorities and women scientists overlooked.

In this series, we'd like to introduce you to some of the great Black scientists of Microbiology. Watch the "Black Lives Matter In Microbiology" video above to see a glimpse of the Black scientists, famous microbiologists, and researchers we will feature in this series.

Each one is a pioneer in their own way. For instance, Onesimus was a black slave who taught colonial Americans about variolation the precursor to vaccines! William Augustus Hinton became the first Black professor at Harvard and made major strides in the world of Syphillis Diagnostics. In addition, he was the first Black scientist to become a member of the American Society of Microbiology! He also was the father of another person that made the list Jane Hinton!

Black Female Microbiologists

And we haven't forgotten about the ladies! Black female microbiologists did everything from inventing one of the most important media types to being the source of immortal cell lines!

They made strides in agriculture and environmental sciences too. Jessie Isabelle Price became a prominent Duck Doctor developing not one but 2 vaccines that significantly helped the poultry industry, making chicken products more affordable for Americans.

And of course, we will also discuss the numerous achievements of Dr. Ruth Ella Moore. She was not only a fashionista who made her own clothes but also the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in the natural sciences!

Black Scientists In History

These Black Scientists were pioneers of their time, a time where they faced discrimination and hostility for the color of their skin. Dr. Hinton may have been an ASM member but he never went to conferences for fear if his white colleagues knew the color of his skin they would discredit his work. There are many things to fear in this world but this should not be one of them.

The Black scientists in history and today are still struggling to be acknowledged. The Black Microbiologists are pushing for the visibility they deserve. We hope this little series shows some of the major ways Black Scientists have shaped the field of microbiology!

They made so many sacrifices in their lives, and their determination is inspirational. Black MIcrobiologists deserve recognition even if they are no longer with us. As you watch the slide show on Black Lives Matter in Microbiology just think:

In these famous black scientists' lives "equality" was rarely expected.

Today "equality" is written into our lives. We preach that we are the land of equality and the free but this is simply not true. Equality should be expected but rarely is it granted. These black scientists made such great contributions despite the limitations and widespread racism. How much more could they have achieved without having to navigate these barriers?

Where would microbiology or all of the science be if we only accepted, supported, and empowered all people despite race, gender, or ethnicity? Tell me in a comment below, let's envision a better future together!

Other Posts in the Black Lives matter in Microbiology Series

  1. Onesimus: the black slave that helped to stop smallpox

  2. William Augustus Hinton: First Black Harvard Professor and Syphilis Researcher

  3. Dr. Ruth Ella Moore: Fashionista, TB Researchers, First Black American to get a Ph.D. in Bacteriology

  4. Dr. Harold Amos: First Microbiologist, Francophile, Teacher, Lover of Science!

  5. Jane Hinton- Co-developer of Mueller-Hinton Agar, One of the first Black Americans to earn a VMD

  6. Jessie Isabelle Price: The Duck Doctor

  7. The Unethical Study That Never Should Have Happened

  8. Hell of a lot of HeLa Cells: The life and legacy of the “Immortal” Black Women

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