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*On this date in 1867, Charles Turner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was a Black zoologist and inventor.
After Turner completed high school he graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1891, and received an M.A. in biology in 1892. Soon afterwards, he became an instructor at Atlanta’s Clark College. In 1895 his wife Leontine died and he left Atlanta with his three children Louisa Mae, Owen, and Darwin to teach in the public school system of Evansville, IN. In 1898 he went back to school again at the University of Chicago. After one year he returned to Clark University until 1905. Turner then took a job as principal of College Hill School in Cleveland, TN only to move back to Chicago one year later.
Upon receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1907, Turner published many articles on the behavior of arthropods, including Habits of Mound-Building Ants, Experiments on the Color Vision of the Honeybee, Hunting Habits of an American Sand Wasp, and Psychological Notes on the Gallery Spider.
These and other articles appeared many journals. The arthropods characteristics and movements (toward a ground nest) first observed and described by Turner became known as Turner’s circling. Two years after Charles Turner’s death in 1923, a school for disabled Black children was named in honor of him.
The Encyclopedia of African American Heritage
by Susan Altman
Copyright 1997, Facts on File, Inc. New York