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Gloria L. Anderson

  • Born: November 5, 1938, Altheimer, Arkansas

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0673
Interview Date: August 21, 2009
Location: Morris Brown College, Atlanta, Georgia
Interviewer: Jeannette E. Brown
No. of pages: 58
Minutes: 152

  Abstract of Interview

Gloria L. Anderson was born and raised in Altheimer, Arkansas, and had five brothers.  Her father was a farmer and then a janitor; her mother a domestic worker and a creative seamstress.  Anderson was always good in school, even skipping grades, yet she had to attend segregated schools, literally just down the road from the origin of Brown v. Board of Education.  Her high school was called Altheimer Training School; the one for white students was called Altheimer High School.

Anderson attended Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal College (AM&N) on scholarship; she was valedictorian of her class (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was her commencement speaker and stands beside her in a photo).  Although she thought she did not want to teach, she took a job teaching the seventh grade in an Altheimer school, leaving after a year to accept a teaching assistantship at Atlanta University.  There, with Kimuel Huggins and Henry McBay as mentors, she wrote a master’s thesis in butadiene chemistry.  During this time she also married.  After a year of teaching at South Carolina State College and two at Morehouse College Anderson was accepted into the doctoral program at the University of Chicago.  She studied fluorine, using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), in Leon Stock’s lab.  She had no study group and little help, teaching herself first the fluorine-19 NMR and then other types.  She was friends with Thomas Cole, a fellow student who later became president of Clark Atlanta University.

Having obtained her PhD, Anderson became associate professor and chair of the department of chemistry at Morris Brown College.  In that position she struggled with the National Science Foundation and other organizations to get equipment and funding for the school.  She was offered the Fuller E. Callaway Chair, which she held until she became Dean of Academic Affairs, and which she resumed when she went back to teaching.  She continued her research into fluorine-19, and began studying amantadines as potential antivirals; she often paid for her own research and patents.  Twice she was interim president of Morris Brown; she laments the college’s current unaccredited status, the loss due to a former president’s fraud.

In addition to her work for the College, Anderson has been a board member and Vice Chair of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; she served also on two task forces, one for minorities and one for women in public television.  She worked on boards of Georgia and Atlanta Public Broadcasting, as well as many others, and she has been on an advisory committee for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Throughout her log career she has won and received numerous honors.

Throughout the interview Anderson discusses the politics of being a woman in a man’s world and of being black in a white world.  She found her inspiration in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and has spent her professional life trying to make things better and easier for the less-advantaged.  Anderson’s advice to young women considering chemistry as a career is:  you must love chemistry; you must be committed; and you must prove yourself over and over.

  Education

1958 B.S., Chemistry and Mathematics, Arkansas A.M. & N. College
1961 M.S., Organic Chemistry, Atlanta University
1968 Ph.D., Physical Organic Chemistry, University of Chicago

  Professional Experience

South Carolina State College

1961 - 1962

Instructor

Morehouse College

1962 - 1964

Instructor

University of Chicago

1964 - 1968

Teaching and Research Assistant, Chemistry

Morris Brown College

1968 - 1973

Associate Professor and Chair, Chemistry

Morris Brown College

1973 - 1984

Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Chemistry and Chair

Morris Brown College

1984 - 1989

Dean of Academic Affairs

Morris Brown College

1990 - 1992

Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Chemistry

Morris Brown College

1992 - 1993

Interim President

Morris Brown College

1993

Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Chemistry

Morris Brown College

1995 - 1997

Dean of Science and Technology

Morris Brown College

1998

Interim President

Morris Brown College

1999 - present

Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Chemistry

Lockheed Georgia Corporation

1981

National Science Foundation Research Fellow

Lockheed Georgia Corporation

1982

Research Consultant

U.S. Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base

1984

SCEEE Faculty Research Fellow

IPECS Holland, The Hague

1990

Research Consultant

  Honors

1956 - 1958

Rockefeller Scholarship

1970

Outstanding Service Award, Special Services Students, Morris Brown College

1970 - 1974

Liaison Officer, United Negro College Fund Pre-Medical Summer Program, Fisk University

1973

Congratulatory Plaque, Arkansas A.M. & N. College Alumni Association

1973

Certificate of Appreciation, Student Government Association, Morris Brown College

1974

Testimonial of Appreciation, CPB Advisory Panel on Essentials for Minority Programming

1974

Atlanta Deltas “Breaking New Ground,” Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

1974

Appreciation Certificate, Senior Class, Morris Brown College

1974 - 1976

Chair, Greater Atlanta Public Broadcasting Study Committee

1975

Certificate of Appreciation, Atlanta Board of Education

1976

Scroll of Honor, National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women

1976

Outstanding Teacher Award, Senior Class, Morris Brown College

1977

Appreciation Plaque, Native American Public Broadcasting Consortium

1977

Outstanding Service Award, Student Assistance Program, Morris Brown College

1977 - 1979

Chair, Self Study Steering Committee, Morris Brown College

1978

Sixth Edition Award, Atlanta Chapter, National Association of Media Women

1978

Chairlady’s Award, Atlanta Chapter, National Association of Media
Women

1978

Public Broadcasting Service Award, Atlanta Chapter, National Association of Media Women

1978

Resolution of Appreciation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting

1978

Appreciation Plaque, Task Force on Minorities in Public Broadcasting

1979

Resolution of Appreciation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting

1979

Outstanding Black Women, the Utopian Club

1980 - 1982

Vice President, Public Broadcasting Atlanta Board

1981

Faculty Industrial Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation

1982

Certificate of Appreciation, State of Georgia

1983

Teacher of the Year, Senior Class, Morris Brown College

1983

Faculty/Staff Hall of Fame, Senior Class, Morris Brown College

1983

Special Service Award, Morris Brown College

1983

Appreciation Award, Upward Bound Program, Morris Brown College

1983

Honorary Member, Phi Eta Sigma Freshman Honor Society, Morris Brown College

1984

Faculty Research Fellowship, Southeastern Center for Electrical Engineering Education, Air Force Office of Scientific Research

1984

Appreciation Award, Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory

1985

UNCF Distinguished Scholar Award, United Negro College Fund

1985

Certificate of Recognition, Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Programs Personnel  

1985

Appreciation Plaque, Metro SYETP, DeKalb County SYETP, and Upward Bound

1985

Appreciation Plaque, PREP Class of 1985, Morris Brown College

1985

Service Above Self Award, TRIO Programs, Morris Brown College

1986

Appreciation Plaque, Martin/Altheimer School Reunion

1986

Certificate of Appreciation, U.S. Department of Education

1986

Presidential Citation in Recognition of Exemplary Experiences that Honor My Alma Mater, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education

1986

Appreciation Trophy, Morris Brown College Upward Bound/Metro SYETP

1987

Alumni All-Star Excellence Award in Education, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

1988

Appreciation Trophy, Morris Brown College TRIO Programs

1988

Honorary Member, Golden Key National Honor Society, Morris Brown College

1989

YWCA Salute to Women of Achievement

1989 - 1990

United Negro College Fund Distinguished Scholar

1989 - 1990

Appreciation Award, Scholars Restaurant, Morris Brown College

1990

Honorary Member, Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, Morris Brown College

1991

“Women of Color in the Struggle,” A Consortium of Doctors LTD

1991

Outstanding Black Educators in Atlanta, SuccessGuide 1991: The Guide   to Black Resources in Atlanta

1991

Appreciation Trophy, Morris Brown College Upward Bound Program

1992

Resolution by the House of Representations, Commendations and Recognition, Georgia State Legislature

1992

“A Salute to Black Mothers: For Outstanding Contributions to the Black Community,” Concerned Black Clergy of Metro Atlanta, Inc

1993

Proclamation, “Gloria Long Anderson Day,” City of Atlanta, Georgia

1993

Proclamation by the Governor of the State of Georgia

1993

Citation, Achievement, 120th Founder’s Day Celebration, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

1993

Plaque, Achievement, 120th Founder’s Day Celebration, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

1994

Appreciation Plaque, Morris Brown College Women’s Week

1994 - 1995

Appreciation Plaque, “Be the Labor Great or Small; Do It Well or Not At all; Dr. Anderson: You Did It Well!” “Thank You and We Love You,” Organic Chemistry class, Morris Brown College

1996

Appreciation Plaque, Morris Brown College TRIO Programs

1997

Appreciation Plaque, Morris Brown College TRIO Programs

1998

Certificate of Recognition, Druid Pointe Black History Month Committee

1998

Belle Ringer Image Award, Bennett College

1998

“A Salute to Black Mothers: For Outstanding Contributions in Education,” Concerned Black Clergy of Metro Atlanta, Inc.

1998

Outstanding Georgia Citizen, State of Georgia

1998

Recognition Plaque, Morris Brown College

1998

Interim President Appreciation Plaque, “You Are the Heart and Soul of Morris Brown College,” Morris Brown College Faculty and Staff

1999

Outstanding Education Award, West Georgia Chapter, Morris Brown College National Alumni Association

2000

Chair, Promotion and Tenure Ad Hoc Appeals Committee, Morris Brown College

2001

Appreciation Plaque, “For Distinguished Service in Science,” Going the Distance 3rd Annual commencement Gala, Morris Brown College

2002

Scroll of Honor Award, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

2003

Chair, Academic Planning Task Force, Morris Brown College

2003

Chair, Faculty Retention Task Force, Morris Brown College

2004

Chair, Academic Affairs Council, Morris Brown College

2004

Appreciation Plaque, “In Appreciation for Faculty Leadership,” Morris Brown College Faculty

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Early Years 1

Raised in Altheimer, Arkansas.  Parents’ work.  Siblings.  Skipping grades in school.  Segregated schools.  No science classes.  Valedictorian.  

College Years 6

Attends Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal College.  Scholarships.  Choosing chemistry as major because it was hard.  Valedictorian.  Commencement picture with Dr. King.  Taught in Altheimer schools until Sputnik caused National Science Foundation to establish programs to train science teachers.  Kimmel Huggins offers teaching assistantship at Atlanta University.  Henry McBay other mentor.  Marries.  Thesis on butadiene chemistry.   Master of Science degree.  Teaches at South Carolina State College for a year.  Moves to Morehouse College to teach and do research.

Seeking a Doctorate 14

Accepted into University of Chicago’s PhD program.  Husband’s music studies.  Dissertation research on fluorine-19.  Expert on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.  Leon Stock’s lab.  Taking prelims.  Unrecognized racism.  Types of NMR systems.  Thomas Cole.  Increasing importance of fluorine.  Obtains PhD.

Morris Brown College 27

Dr. King’s death inspires her to work in black college.  Begins career as associate professor and chair of chemistry department at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia.  Fuller E. Callaway Professorship.  Dean of Academic Affairs.  Resumes Callaway Professorship.  Continuing research into fluorine-19 chemistry.  Patents.  Funding.  Atlanta University Center Research Committee.  Amatadine and other antivirals.  Interim president of Morris Brown.  Struggling to rebuild Morris Brown.

Other Undertakings 38

Board member of Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Task forces on minorities and women in public television and radio.  National Science Foundation’s Women in Science program.  Many other boards.  Advisory committee to Food and Drug Administration.

Advice to Women 40

Love chemistry.  Be committed.  Prove yourself.

Index 45

  About the Interviewer

Jeannette E. Brown

Jeannette E. Brown has a research MS degree from the University of Minnesota and a BS degree in the Field of Chemistry from Hunter College. She started her industrial career at CIBA
Pharmaceutical Co. as a junior chemist, working there for eleven years, and she held the position of Research Chemist at Merck & Co. Inc. for twenty-five years. Brown is a former Faculty Associate in the department of Pre-College Programs at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, holding the title of New Jersey Statewide Systemic Initiative (NJSSI) Regional Director. She was appointed to the National Science Foundation Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women Minorities and Persons with Disabilities (CEOSE) and served on that committee for six years. She is the 2005 recipient of the American Chemical Society Dreyfus Award for mentoring minorities in science and she is currently working on a book about the history of African-American women chemists.

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