One of the first African-Americans to receive a doctorate in chemistry who synthesized some of the earliest plant-derived medicine. He was also the African-American chemist inducted into the National Academy of Sciences.
Denied a professorship due to his race, he went to work for the Glidden Company, where among his other inventions, he found a better fire retardent than plain water.
Running his own company, he worked to create synthetic steroid intermediates from wild yams, dramatically lowering cost of their production.
He was born in Montgomery, Alabama, his father a former slave.
Dr. Charles Drew was another renowned African-American scientist.