The Roundup: Black women in science

In honor of Black History Month, we’re sharing articles about black women in science.

We know that Wikipedia is often missing these stories. For the Year of Science, Wiki Ed is connecting with higher education classrooms to helps students understand that there is diversity in science. When students uncover and share stories not only of women, but of black history, it helps make clear for Wikipedia’s readership that passion in the pursuit of knowledge is the defining characteristic of a scientist– not race or gender.

Here’s a story about Caroline Hunter, an African-American research bench chemist at the Polaroid Corporation who challenged her employer’s investments in South Africa during apartheid. After Hunter organized a boycott, Polaroid stopped sales to the South African government. She later received the 2012 Rosa Parks Memorial Award from the National Education Association. A student in Dr. Melissa Stuckey’s African American Women’s History class at the University of Oregon created this article.

From the same class, here’s an article on Dr. Ruth Janetta Temple (pictured) who lead efforts to provide free health care and education to underserved communities in Los Angeles. She was the first African American woman to graduate from Loma Linda University, in 1918, with a bachelor’s degree in medicine. She went on to Yale University after 20 years of service. She then opened up a free community clinic in LA, which is named in her honor — the Dr. Ruth Temple Center. A student created this page for the course, and it’s now the top search result for Dr. Temple’s name.

From Dr. Sandra Clement’s Gender, Race, Culture, Science and Technology course at California Polytechnic State University, we have an article about Alexa Canady. Dr. Canady is not only the first woman, but also the first African-American, to become a neurosurgeon in the United States.

From Dr. David Perkins’ course at Ball State University, a student expanded the article on Dr. Inez Beverly Prosser, believed by some to be the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in psychology in 1931. Her work focused on the effects of segregation on black children’s development, and explored alternatives.

Thanks to these student editors for sharing these stories with Wikipedia’s readership!

Photo: Ruth Temple by Betsy Graves Reyneau, 1888-1964, Artist (NARA record: 4772241)U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain,



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