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#UNBlackHistoryFacts: Dr. Percy L. Julian


Percy L. Julian was a pioneer Black American chemist who discovered the cure for Glaucoma, a disease that causes blindness. For years, scientists could not figure out the cause of the disease or how to treat it. Percy’s research and work led to the chemical synthesis of drugs to treat Glaucoma and arthritis. It is also the foundation for modern-day birth control. Percy taught chemistry at Howard University and also earned a Master’s Degree from Harvard University. He later went on to earn his Ph.D. from Vienna University. Now an established and known chemist, Dr. Julian was offered a job at DePauw University but was ultimately rejected because he was African American.






Although Dr. Julian was denied proper education, he beat all odds, achieved the highest forms of education, and left a legendary mark. Click the link in the bio to find out more about his contributions to World War 2 and other interesting facts.

  • Julian was in Montgomery, Alabama in 1899.

  • Due to poor schooling in high school, Percy Julian had to retake his high school classes while simultaneously taking college courses.

  • He taught chemistry at Fisk University and Howard University.

  • In 1929, Julian went to Europe and earned his Ph.D. in Vienna, Austria.

  • During World War 2, Dr. Julian created a special foam that could put out fires. This development saved thousands of USA soldiers’ lives.

  • Soybeans were the foundation for many of his most significant developments, and in 1950, Dr. Julian opened up his own labs where he continued to make more medicines that thrived from soybeans.

  • By 1961, Percy Julian was a millionaire as he sold his business for over two million dollars.

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