Time and again and again and again, Percy Julian — the grandson of slaves and the father of Julian Laboratories Inc. — used his brilliance and perseverance and innovation in science to overcome obstacles raised before him only because of the color of his skin.
Julian’s work with alkaloids and steroids would transform medical care, as he used such natural substances as soy protein and the calabar bean to help create and improve treatments for glaucoma and rheumatoid arthritis. His findings and products would also contribute to the development of medical birth control and ways to suppress the immune system — so crucial to organ transplants.
To understand the path of Percy Julian is to comprehend not only the Jim Crow South of his lifetime, but also the Academic/Industrial Prejudice Most Everywhere in his era.
I really respect Google Doodle for going out of its way to highlight important women and people of color in our history. Reading about Percy Julian gave me chills, because he truly overcame every possible disadvantage to become someone people still admire. Just an amazing man.