An African-American STEM pioneer was finally honored for breaking barriers in the realm of science. Saint Elmo Brady—the first Black man to receive a doctorate degree in chemistry—had a National Historical Chemical Landmark dedicated to him by the American Chemical Society, the Journal for Blacks in Higher Education reported.
The landmark was added to the University of Illinois campus where Brady received his degree 103 years ago, the news outlet writes. Leaders at the American Chemical Society believe it’s crucial that Brady’s journey and contributions to STEM don’t go unsung. The organization’s 2018 President Peter K. Dorhout believes that Brady’s story will serve as inspiration for the next generation of Black STEM leaders.
“This landmark designation recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and leadership impact that Dr. Brady has had on the chemical profession,” said Dorhout in a statement, according to the news outlet. “I am proud to be an alumnus of the university that was part of his legacy — dreaming, designing and executing the creation of four outstanding and impactful chemistry programs that have each worked to ensure access to higher education and the chemical professions for so many young African-American men and women over the last century.” There was a designation ceremony that was held on February 5.
A Louisville native, Dr. Brady received his bachelor’s degree in 1908 from Fisk University. Four years after graduating, he went on to pursue his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Throughout his career, he held teaching roles at Tuskegee University, Tougaloo College, Howard University, and Fisk University. He chaired the chemistry departments at his alma mater Fisk and at Howard University as well.
The University of Illinois isn’t the only institution that will receive a plaque dedicated to Dr. Brady. Other universities and colleges that he left a mark on will as well; including Fisk University, Tuskegee University, Howard University, and Tougaloo College.