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African American Women Chemists$
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Jeannette Brown

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199742882

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199742882.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 June 2021

Industry and Government Labs

Industry and Government Labs

(p.92) Chapter 6 Industry and Government Labs
African American Women Chemists

Jeannette Brown

Oxford University Press

Dr. Hopkins is one of the few American women to have held a doctorate in science and a license to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Her career included academia, industry, and government. Esther was born Esther Arvilla Harrison on September 16, 1926, in Stamford, Connecticut. She was the second of three children born to George Burgess Harrison and Esther Small Harrison. Her father was a chauffeur and sexton at a church, and her mother worked in domestic service. Neither of her parents had an advanced education. Her father had some high school education; her mother attended only primary school. However, both of her parents wanted to make sure their children had a good education. When Esther was three and a half years old, her mother took her along to register her older brother for school. Because Esther was taller than her brother, the teacher suggested that she take the test to start school. She passed the test and was able to start kindergarten at the age of three and a half! She and her brother went to school together all through elementary school. Boys and girls were separated in junior high school; in high school they remained separate but attended the same school. She decided in junior high school that she wanted to be a brain surgeon. This was because she met a woman doctor in Stamford who had an office in one of the buildings that her father cleaned. The woman was a physician and graduate of Boston University Medical School. Esther decided that she wanted to be just like her. Therefore, when Esther entered high school, she chose the college preparatory math and science track. She took as many science courses as possible in order to get into Boston University. She spent a lot of time at the local YWCA, becoming a volunteer youth leader. One speaker at a YWCA luncheon discouraged her from entering science and suggested that she become a hairdresser. Esther was hurt but not discouraged by this. She graduated from Stamford High School in 1943.

Keywords:   American Cyanamid, Bishop College, Central State College, Dillard University, Ebony magazine, Grambling University, IBM, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Polaroid Corporation

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