The Village of Woodlawn, OH

Black History Month Spot Light

Percy Lavon Julian

was an American research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants.

Inadequately prepared by his high school, he was accepted at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, as a sub-freshman, meaning he had to take high school courses.   Majoring in chemistry, he graduated as valedictorian in 1920.

Percy Julian taught at Fisk University.  He received his master’s degree from Harvard in organic chemistry.  After Harvard, he taught at West Virginia State College and Howard University.  He received his doctoral degree from the University of Vienna, Austria.

His research through the years produced numerous drugs that are used today like physostigmine, progesterone, cortisone, and hydrocortisone

Throughout his life, he was socially active in groups seeking to advance conditions for African Americans.