Details for FAMILY FOCUS COVER 15
Ernest E. Just Another South Carolina native, Ernest Everett Just was a biologist and science writer who advocated the study of whole cells under normal conditions, recognizing the role of the cell surface in the development of organisms. Just was born in 1883 and survived a bout with typhoid while still young. He went on to graduate from Dartmouth, where he distinguished himself as a Rufus Choate scholar and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He went on to teach at Howard University, where he and three students founded the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. In 1909, Just was invited PUBLIC DOMAIN to the Marine Biology Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass., by University of Chicago head of zoology Frank R. Lillie. He spent just about every one of the next 20 summers in the lab, investigating the eggs of marine invertebrates. In 1916, Just graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and continued his duties as the head of the Department of Zoology at Howard. He traveled to Europe, conducting research at prestigious institutions in Italy, Germany and France. Just authored two books, “Basic Methods for Experiments on the Eggs of Marine Animals” and “The Biology of the Cell Surface,” both in 1939. But he continued to be frustrated by racism in America and his difficulty finding a more prestigious appointment at a research university. In 1940, Just was working in France when Germany invaded. He was imprisoned but later that year was rescued by the U.S. State Department. In 1941, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died that year. Just was the subject of a book that was a finalist for the 1984 Pulitzer Prize, “Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just” by Kenneth R. Manning. A number of symposia and awards also bear his name, and a special issue of the journal Molecular Reproduction and Development is dedicated to him. TELFAIR H. BROWN, SR., U.S. COAST GUARD The 100 year celebration of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, honoring the military members of the fraternity. PUBLIC DOMAIN Hattie McDaniel (left) on the set of “Gone with the Wind,” along with Olivia de Havilland (center) and Vivien Leigh (right) in 1939. Hattie McDaniel Hattie McDaniel has a career so distinguished that she has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for TV and one for radio. A singer and actress, McDaniel was the first African-American to win an Academy Award for her role as Mammy in “Gone With the Wind.” Born to former slaves, McDaniel was born in Kansas but grew up in Colorado. Her brother and sister also acted and sang, and McDaniel worked on her songwriting skills with her brother’s minstrel show. She toured and appeared on radio shows and in films, working as a maid or cook when she couldn’t get work performing. McDaniel finally had a leading role in the 1934 film “Judge Priest,” followed by “Alice Adams” in 1935, and starring alongside Jean Harlow, Clark Gable and Bela Lugosi in a steady drum of other films that year. Her best known role is in 1939’s “Gone With the Wind,” where she starred as the maid, Mammy, alongside Gable and Olivia de Havilland. McDaniel earned an Academy Award for that role at the 1940 Twelfth Academy Awards, where she sat at a segregated table. The hotel did not allow African-Americans, but admitted McDaniel and an escort as a favor. “This is one of the happiest moments of my life, and I want to thank each one of you who had a part in selecting me for one of their awards, for your kindness,” McDaniel said in her acceptance speech. “It has made me feel very, very humble; and I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything that I may be able to do in the future. I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry.” McDaniel went on to play a series of domestic workers on screen, appearing for the last time in 1951 as the titular character of the hit ABC series “Beulah,” where she once again was a maid. She died of breast cancer in 1952. During her success on screen, McDaniel was also one of a handful of Los Angeles homeowners to win in the courtroom. The case centered on African-American homeownership in a traditionally white upscale neighborhood of West Adams Heights, popularly called Sugar Hill. Sued by white homeowners, the AfricanAmericans, including McDaniel won the right to live there. In another twist, since McDaniel’s death, her historic Oscar award has been missing. It was meant to have ended up at Howard University — and did for a time — but has since disappeared.