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Tue, 08.14.1883

Collegiate mentor, biologist Ernest Just

Ernest E. Just

*This date marks the birth of Ernest Everett Just in 1883. He was an African American biologist and educator who taught at Howard University for more than 30 years.

Edward Everett Just was born in Charleston, S. C. and grew up in an atmosphere of learning. His early years were spent at Kimball Union, a preparatory school in New Hampshire, then to Dartmouth College where he was the only African American in his class. Just switched his major from Greek to biology and graduated magna cum laude in 1907. Morehouse College wanted him, though he accepted a job as instructor in English and rhetoric at Howard.

His popularity as a teacher was legendary, in 1911 he helped Howard students form Omega Psi Phi, which became a national black fraternity and he was made a full professor in 1912. Ernest Just believed African Americans should study science for the "objective" and "cold-blooded" rigor of the discipline. Beginning in 1929, Just undertook a series of extended research tours to Italy, Germany, and France that lasted until 1940. Already ill with pancreatic cancer, Ernest Just spent his final year mending rifts with the Howard administration.

As his health worsened, Just moved into his sister's Washington, D. C., home, where he died in 1941.

Reference:
HOWARD UNIVERSITY
2400 Sixth Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20059
202-806-6100

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