Born 1883 – Died 1941
A Difficult Start
Ernest E. Just was born in South Carolina. His early life was fraught with difficulties.
When he was four years old, both his father and grandfather died, leaving his mother to raise him and his two siblings alone.
His mother, Mary Matthews Just, took a job teaching at the negro school in the area and spent the summer in the phosphate mines of South Carolina.
While working, she noticed that there was lots of empty land near the mines, and encouraged African Americans to set up homes there. It is believed that the town founded on the land is named for her – Maryville, SC
|Kimball Union Academy|
Ernest was very bright, and his mother sent him to The Colored Normal Industrial Agricultural and Mechanical College of South Carolina. He did well there, but both Mary and Ernest thought that the education for black people in the south was inferior to what he could get in the north.
He returned home for a visit after his second year to discover his mother had been buried one hour earlier. He returned to New Hampshire and threw himself into his studies, determined to make sure the trust his mother placed in him was not wasted.
He graduated from Kimball in three years instead of four in 1903 and was at the top of the class.
When World War II broke out, Just was at the Station Biologique de Roscoff. The French Government told all of the foreigners to leave but Just stayed to complete his research.
In 1940 the Nazis invaded and Just was put in a POW camp. In 1941 the American government negotiated for his release. He’d fallen ill during his imprisonment, and when he returned home he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died shortly thereafter.
Ernest Everett Just pioneered work on cells in his day, and his work is still informing modern day scientists.
There is lots more to learn about Ernest Everett Just.
In 1911 he co-founded the first black fraternity, Omega Psi Phi.
In 1996 the US postal system gave him his own stamp.
There are lots of really long science words and terms and such that Just studied, but this is a thumbnail, not a dissertation.
Thank you, Ernest Just for all the knowledge you contributed to our modern understanding of cellular functions!
-Celebrate Black History Month!
Day 4 – Charles R. Drew – Blood Man
Day 5 – Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner – Inventor of The Sanitary Pad
Day 7 – Frederick McKinley Jones – The Coolest Man in Modern History