Forgotten Genius

Library Resource Kit Bibliography

This bibliography contains resources about Percy Julian, breakthroughs in chemistry, the Jim Crow era and milestones in the Civil Rights movement, and notable scientists of color.

Percy Julian's life and Work


Black Pioneers of Science and Invention
by Louis Haber. Harcourt, Odyssey Classics, 1992.
Chronicles the lives of 14 African Americans, including Percy Julian, Benjamin Banneker, and George Washington Carver, who made significant contributions to science and industry. [C, YA]

Distinguished African American Scientists of the 20th Century
by James Kessler et al. Oryx Press, 1996.
Profiles 100 African American scientists and mathematicians. [Y, A]

Great Black Heroes: Five Brilliant Scientists
by Lynda Jones and Ron Garrett (illustrator). Scholastic, Cartwheel Books, 2000.
Describes the early lives and key achievements of Percy Julian and four other scientists. [C]

Outward Dreams: Black Inventors and Their inventions
by Jim Haskins. Walker, 1991.
Presents biographical profiles of Percy Julian and other notable African American inventors. [C, YA]

The Hidden Contributors: Black Scientists and Inventors in America
by Aaron E. Klein. Doubleday, 1971.
Provides an overview of the achievements of African American inventors, including Percy Julian. [YA, A]

Biographical sketches

"Percy L. Julian's Fight for His Life," Ebony, March 1975

"The House that Joyce Built," Fortune, May 1949

"The Man Who Wouldn't Give Up," Reader's Digest, August 1946

Videos & DVDs

NOVA: Forgotten Genius
Portrays the life of Percy Julian—chemist, humanist, and business leader. [YA, A]

Tracing the Path: African American Contributions to Chemistry in the Life Sciences
American Chemical Society, 1994.
Examines scientific contributions to the field of chemistry by precolonial Africans, African Americans during the 1800s and 1900s, and contemporary African Americans. (Available at many public libraries.) [YA]

Web Sites

NOVA: Forgotten Genius
Companion Web site to the documentary Forgotten Genius includes articles, interviews, interactive activities, teacher lesson plans, and other resources relating to Percy Julian. [YA, A]

African American History Vignette—Percy Julian
Presents a summary of Percy Julian's life, along with profiles of numerous other prominent figures in African American history. Also contains a comprehensive listing of Web sites on African American history. [YA, A]

National Academy of Sciences, Biographical Memoirs—Percy Lavon Julian
Provides a sketch of Julian, including an impressive listing of the awards and honors he garnered during his lifetime, as well as a bibliography of his scientific writings. [A]

A People and Discoveries, Percy Julian
Discusses the life of Percy Julian. [YA, A]

Percy Lavon Julian: Life and Legacy

Highlights Percy Julian's life and work. [YA, A]

Portrait Gallery: Percy Julian
Describes Julian's life and achievements for young readers. [C]

Science Alive! The Life and Science of Percy Julian
The Chemical Heritage Foundation offers a comprehensive and interactive examination of Julian's life and career, with rich material on his childhood, college years, scientific discoveries, and civil rights work. Includes illuminating pictures, activities, readings, a time line, and a comprehensive teacher's guide. [YA, A]

Breakthroughs in Chemistry


190 Ready-to-Use Activities That Make Science Fun
by George Watson. Jossey-Bass, 2003.
Offers chemistry activities related to atoms and elements for students of varying ability levels. [YA, A]

A to Z of chemists
by Elizabeth H. Oakes. Facts on File, 2002.
Tells the stories of 150 historical and contemporary chemists. [YA, A]

Chemical Achievers: The Human Face of the Chemical Sciences
by Mary Ellen Bowden. Chemical Heritage Foundation, 1997.
Provides teachers with photos and biographies of 80 chemists, many of whom are people of color. [A]

Chemistry Connections: The Chemical Basis of Everyday Phenomena
by Kerry K. Karukstis and Gerald R. Van Hecke. Elsevier Science & Technology, 2003.
Presents a broad range of explanations of chemical processes. [YA, A]

The Joy of Chemistry: The Amazing Science of Familiar Things
by Cathy Cobb. Prometheus Books, 2005.
Includes science and history, and connects chemistry to the real world. [YA, A]

The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake: A Book about Kitchen Chemistry
by Joanna Cole. Scholastic, 1995.
Uses kitchen-based experiments to introduce children to the principles of chemistry. [C]

Videos & DVDs

People Who Took Chemistry, That's Who!
American Chemical Society, 1998.
Introduces high school students to the chemistry involved in our everyday lives by showing how recyclable soda bottles, compact discs, and antiperspirants are produced. [YA]

Squibs Disc 5—In Matter: Atoms, Elements, & Chemistry Ignite!
Learning, 2005.
Uses animation to introduce young people to key concepts in chemistry, including the periodic table and chemical reactions. [C]

Web Sites

Chemistry Fun & Humor
Takes a humorous look at chemistry. [YA, A] Educators & Students
Features an extensive array of activities, readings, and resources for educators and students from kindergarten through college. [C, YA, A]

General Chemistry Online!
Provides a thorough overview of chemistry basics in an accessible format. [YA, A]

NOVA Teachers
Lists NOVA sites that include chemistry topics and related lessons. [YA, A]

Civil Rights Milestones


At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68
by Taylor Branch. Simon & Schuster, 2006.
Chronicles Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and work. [YA, A]

Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65
by Taylor Branch. Simon & Schuster, 2006.
Looks at America during the King years. [YA, A]

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63
by Taylor Branch. Simon & Schuster, 2006.
Presents a Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Civil Rights movement, with a focus on the emergence of Martin Luther King Jr. as a national leader. [YA, A]

The Civil Rights Movement for Kids: A History with 21 Activities
by Mary C. Truck. Chicago Review Press, 2000.
Introduces children to the historic movement for equality in the U.S. [C]

The Strange Career of Jim Crow
by C. Vann Woodward. Oxford University Press, 1974.
Traces the history of racial segregation in the U.S. A

Videos & DVDs

Eyes on the Prize
Blackside, 1987 and 1990.
Immerses viewers in the events, triumphs, and tragedies of ordinary people who fought for civil rights in the U.S. Consists of 14 hour-long documentaries. [YA, A]

Martin Luther King, Jr.—Great Americans for Children Series
Schlessinger Media, 2003.
Profiles King's life and achievements. [C]

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
PBS Video, 2002.
Four-part series that chronicles the history of racial segregation in the South and North. [YA, A]

Web Sites

Civil Rights: A Chronology
Provides a chronology of the Civil Rights movement. [YA, A]

KIDS Report: Civil Rights
Created by kids for kids, this site contains an extensive collection of annotated links to civil rights resources online. [C, YA]

The History of Jim Crow
Examines racial segregation and offers multiple teaching resources to accompany the four-part PBS series on Jim Crow. [A]

Scientists of Color


Asian-American Scientists
by Lisa Yount. Facts on File, 1998.
Profiles 12 Asian American scientists who have made important contributions to science. [C, YA]

Black Stars: African American Women Scientists and Inventors
by Otha Richard Sullivan. Wiley, Jossey-Bass, 2001.
Describes the lives of 30 little-known African American women who made contributions to our culture over the last 300 years. [C]

Created Equal: The Lives and Ideas of Black American Innovators
by James Brodie. HarperCollins, Quill Books, 1994.
Documents the lives of more than 60 African American inventors, from slavery to the present. [YA, A]

George Washington Carver: Scientist and Inventor
by Barbara Kramer. Enslow Publishers, 2002.
Profiles the agriculturist and public speaker who started life as a slave. [C]

Lost Talent: The Underparticipation of Women, Minorities, and Disabled Persons in Science
by Jeannie Oaks. Rand, 1990.
Reports on opportunities for, and participation of, women, people of color, and disabled persons in the sciences. [A]

Videos & DVDs

Breakthrough: The Changing Face of Science in America
PBS Video, 1996.
Chronicles the scientific contributions made by people of color. [YA, A]

From Dreams to Reality: A Tribute to Minority Inventors
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 1986.
Highlights the myriad achievements of people of color to American science, technology, and medicine. [YA, A]

Inventing the Future: African American Contributions to Scientific Discovery and Invention
American Chemical Society, 1994.
Profiles selected African Americans who have contributed to scientific discovery in the United States from colonial days to the present. [C, YA]

Web Sites

A Conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson
Includes an interview with Dr. Tyson in which he discusses discoveries in origins research. [YA, A]

African American Heritage Sites for Kids
Provides numerous links to sites covering African American history, art, science, and culture. [C, YA, A]

Biography Project
Presents profiles of Chicano/Latino and Native American scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. [YA, A]

Profile: James McLurkin
Profiles James McLurkin, a designer of robot swarms, or robot groups, that work together to perform a task. [YA, A]

Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science Biography Project
Features biographies of Chicano/Latino and Native American scientists; a resource for K-12 educators. [A]

Drawing of Julian in lab

"Every penny my father could scrape together went into building a wonderful library for his children. For the public library was closed to us. My father created, in my imagination, brave new worlds to conquer."
—Percy Julian

"The only thing that enabled me to keep doing the creative work was the constant determination: Take heart! Go farther on!"
—Percy Julian


"It was this little accidental discovery—the kind that characterizes the development of science so often— that led to a practical method for the isolation of steroids from soybean oil."
—Percy Julian

Civil rights marchers

"In much of my life I've had to pick up the broken fragments of chance and turn them into opportunity."
—Percy Julian


Julian's family strived for educational excellence and achievement. Two of his brothers became doctors, and three of his sisters earned master's degrees.

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