Lisa Perez Jackson was adopted as an infant and grew up in New Orleans’s Ninth Ward in the 1960s. The area was a vibrant center of African American culture with a high rate of home-ownership. Her father was a postman and Navy veteran who took great pride in serving his community and his dedication to the public good was passed on to his daughter. As a child in Louisiana, Lisa noticed that pollution deregulation helped the wealthy make more money but it was harsh for the poor who lived near waterways and canals fouled by the oil industry. She came to realize that environmentalism and equality were entwined and that people of color were most likely to bear the burden of environmental degradation. In her own words, “environmental challenges have the power to deny equality of opportunity and hold back the progress of communities.” Continue reading Lisa Perez Jackson: A Life in Balance
Marie Maynard Daly overcame racial & gender barriers to become the first African American woman to earn a PhD in Chemistry before embarking on a career in medical science that changed the way we understand the human body.
Marie was born in 1921 in Queens, New York. She was the oldest child and only girl in her family. She got her love of science from her dad. When he was a young man he wanted to be a scientist and had earned a scholarship to study science at Cornell University. Despite the scholarship he couldn’t afford his room & board and so sadly he was forced to drop out. Marie later said, “My father wanted to become a scientist but there weren’t opportunities for him as a black man at that time.” Instead he became a postal worker and worked hard to provide for his family.