Black Scientists Then and Now: Celebrating Achievement in Chemistry

In honor of Black History Month, this collection features historical giants, today's trailblazers, and voices for change.

Last updated 2/3/2022

The Shoulders We Stand On

Honoring legacies of black scientists in American history

Black Chemists You Should Know About (C&EN)
These inventors, educators, and unsung heroes changed lives through their work in chemistry

African Americans in the Chemical Sciences

African Americans in the Chemical Sciences
Read about black scientists who overcame great odds to pioneer some of the most important discoveries in American history.

"Distillations" from the Science History Institute

A collection of stories from the past that help us understand our world.

Lawrence Knox at Bates College, undated.
The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

William and Lawrence Knox
For brothers William and Lawrence Knox, earning PhDs in chemistry was not enough to overcome discrimination. 

Charles E. Anderson, meterologist for the Tuskegee Airmen and Project APEQS.
Illustration, Clay Cansler; photograph, Archives of the University of Wisconsin, Madison

Charles Anderson Chases an Eclipse
A lucky streak sends a meteorologist on the flight of a lifetime.

 Reatha Clark King in a lab circa 1960s.
Reatha Clark King, National Institute of Standards and Technology

For Love of the Lab
Reatha Clark King wanted to be a research chemist, so she made the journey from the segregated South to Illinois. At the University of Chicago her dreams came true.

Today's Trailblazers

ACS Industry Matters

Read the special edition of ACS Industry Matters, featuring a collection of interviews highlighting successful black scientists in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. 

C&EN's 2021 Trailblazers issue, curated by guest editor Paula Hammond, celebrates Black chemists and chemical engineers. This issue celebrates the work and legacy of Black chemists and chemical engineers at all career stages, throughout the US, in their own voices.

The American Insitute of Chemical Engineers (AICHe) ChEnected blog features posts about pioneers for equity and inclusion, as well as perspectives on the road ahead.


Voices for Change

Nurturing Black chemists
Young Black scientists thrive in the supportive environment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. But predominantly white schools don’t have the same success, in part because of barriers erected by introductory chemistry courses. No matter their path, though, 6 Black chemists talk about their hopes for the future

Black chemists speak out about inequity in STEM
Chemists share stories of injustice and offer suggestions on how the community can provide support and solidarity

Podcast: Black chemists discuss strategies for dismantling systemic racism in science
Taking cues from the #BlackInChem movement, Stereo Chemistry asks what’s working and what comes next

ACS Core Value: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect

ACS Core Value: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect

The ACS Strategic Plan reflects the Society’s commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive chemistry enterprise.

Learn more and find resources