Ernest Everett Just
Ernest E. Just was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1883. As a sophomore at Dartmouth, he enrolled in his first biology class and read an article which attempted to explained the process of fertilization and egg development, which sparked a lifelong interest in embryology. Graduating from Dartmouth with special honors in zoology and history (although his major was English), he immediately went to a teaching job at Howard. He received his Ph.D. from Chicago and continued teaching at Howard while returning to Woods Hole, a haven for biologists, every summer. He attempted to explain the process of fertilization and egg development, a subject on which he became an international authority.
He was a "scientist's scientist". Dr. Charles Drew, a pioneer in blood plasma research himself, described Dr. Just as "a biologist of unusual skill and the greatest of our original thinkers in the field".
He was invited to work at many European laboratories, including The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Germany, the Sorbonne, the Naples Zoological Laboratory and various Russian Laboratories. No such invitation came from laboratories in the United States, as segregation was firmly entrenched in the American way of life.
Dr. Frank Lillie, his old friend and teacher, eulogizing Dr. Just, alludes to this fact:
"His death was premature and his work unfinished; but his accomplishments were many and worthy of remembrance. That a man of his ability, scientific devotion and of such strong personal loyalties as he gave and received should have been wasted in the land of his birth must remain a matter of regret."
Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just, Kenneth R. Manning. Oxford Univ Press, 1984.
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