Hundreds turn out to preview Percy Julian documentary | January 29, 2007 Issue - Vol. 85 Issue 5 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 85 Issue 5 | p. 11 | News of The Week
Issue Date: January 29, 2007

Hundreds turn out to preview Percy Julian documentary

Department: ACS News
Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN

More than 500 people, including lawmakers, educators, and industry executives, gathered in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, for a private preview screening of the film biography "Forgotten Genius," about the life and career of pioneering African American chemist Percy Lavon Julian (1899-1975).

The film, produced by the WGBH television program NOVA and supported in part by the American Chemical Society (C&EN, Oct. 2, 2006, page 52), describes Julian's struggle with racism and his breakthrough research on drugs to treat glaucoma and rheumatoid arthritis.

"I thought it was a wonderful film," says James A. Donaldson, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Howard University, who attended the screening. "Although they were only excerpts from the film, what I saw was certainly sufficient for me to recommend the full two-hour film to others without reservation."

The documentary film will air nationally on Feb. 6, at 8:00 PM on PBS.

Following the 30-minute screening, a panel—which included producers Stephen Lyons and Llewellyn Smith; James P. Shoffner, who spearheaded ACS's support of the project; and Julian's longtime friend Bernhard Witkop—fielded questions from the audience.

Also, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) spoke about a commemorative resolution that she introduced to honor Julian's life and accomplishments. The bill is under consideration in both the House and Senate.

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