July 3, 1919
Samuel Massie was born to school teachers Samuel and Earlee Massie of North Little Rock (Pulaski County). He quickly advanced to high school and graduated second in his class from Dunbar High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) by age thirteen. Massie overcame racial barriers to become one of America’s greatest chemists in research and teaching. As a doctoral candidate during World War II, he worked on the Manhattan Project with Henry Gilman at Iowa State University in the development of uranium isotopes for the atomic bomb. In 1966, the U.S. Naval Academy appointed him as its first black faculty member. Massie’s research over fifty years led to the development of drugs to treat mental illness, malaria, meningitis, gonorrhea, herpes, and cancer.