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Tue, 12.16.1919

Carl Fraction, a Minnesota Chemist

Carl Fraction

Carl Fraction was born on this date in 1919. He was a Black microbiologist, scientist, and photographer.

Carl Harrison Fraction was born in St. Paul, MN, to James and Opal Fraction, one of six siblings.  When he was young, the family moved to Iowa. Carl graduated from Des Moines North High School in 1937, where he played in the high school band.

Fraction enlisted in the Air Force and was discharged in 1945, but he later contracted tuberculosis. While in the Air Force, he learned photography.

Fraction married Celeste Griffin in 1948; together they had one daughter, Ann. He enrolled at Macalester College in St. Paul, and graduated in 1958 with a degree in microbiology.

Gillette Corporation hired him soon after he graduated to work in its chemistry department. Gillette was the mother company to many hair care products including Toni products. Fraction's chemical formulation was the base for the hair gel “Dippity Dew.”

In the Community, Fraction was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and the Twin Cities Reel & Trigger Club.  He attended St. Peters AME Church, where he sang in the choir. He played in a number of community bands in Minnesota. Carl Fraction died on March 17, 2000.

Reference: Marilyn Robinson and Ron Fraction.

Image: Valarie Johnson McCullar

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