A Brief Biography of Dr. Massie
Lectures, Papers, and Patents
Memberships and Offices
Endowments and Chairs
Few men or women of any race have attained the respect, admiration, and degree of excellence achieved by Dr. Samuel P. Massie. Because Dr. Massie's life and work pave the way for African-Americans and other minorities in education and in the sciences, DOE chose to name its Chairs of Excellence in the environmental sciences in his honor.
Dr. Samuel P. Massie is a native of North Little Rock, Arkansas, where both his parents were schoolteachers. At the age of six he read at a third-grade level and by the time he was 13 he graduated from high school. Dr. Massie later attended Dunbar Jr. College (Little Rock, Arkansas) and, at the age of 18, received a BS degree (summa cum laude) from A.M.N. College of Arkansas (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) with a major in Chemistry. He was awarded the MA degree in Chemistry from Fisk University in Nashville, and the Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry from Iowa State University.
In 1940, after completing his MS, Dr. Massie remained at A.M.N. College of Arkansas to serve as acting head of the math and physics department. After a year he left that position to pursue his doctorate. While working on his Ph.D., Dr. Massie joined the team of scientists working on the development of the atomic bomb. In 1943 he was asked to develop liquid compounds of uranium, research which would later prove a dead end in what was called the Manhattan Project.
Upon completion of his doctorate, Dr. Massie returned to Fisk University to teach. Dr. Massie later served as Department of Chemistry Chairman at Langston University, Fisk University, and Howard University (Pharmaceutical Chemistry). From 1960-63, he was an Associate Program Director at the National Science Foundation, and from 1963-66, he was President of the North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University) at Durham. In 1966, he became the first African-American professor at the U.S. Naval Academy where he taught chemistry and cofounded the black studies program. From 1977-81, he served as Chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the academy.
Dr. Massie retired at the end of the first semester of 1993-4. At the end of the same school year Dr. Massie was named Professor Emeritus.
On July 1, 1994, Dr. Massie came out of retirement to become Vice President for Education of The Bingwa Software Company. The new computer company develops software that teaches mathematics and other subjects to elementary students by using multicultural models.
Dr. Massie has lectured widely at numerous colleges and universities including a number of the Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). He served as a Visiting Scientist in Chemistry for the American Chemical Society, a Piedmont Lecturer in North Carolina, a Julian Lecturer at North Carolina A.&T. University, and a Dreyfuss Lecturer for the United Negro College Fund.
Dr. Massie was the United Negro College Fund Distinguished Professor at Dillard University, an Eminent Scholar at Virginia State University, and from 1986-88 he was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He has been Guest Lecturer at St. Andrew's Presbyterian College, Ripon College, and the University of Northern Colorado. In 1956, he was Sigma Xi Lecturer at Swarthmore College.
He has given papers in chemistry before international conferences in Zurich, Switzerland; Tokyo, Japan; Mexico City, Mexico; and Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has published widely in refereed scientific journals, and his Chemical Reviews article, "The Chemistry of Phenothiazine," published in 1954, is considered a classic. In 1985, along with two midshipmen students and colleagues from the Walter Reed Army Institute, he was awarded a patent for Antibacterial Agents especially effective as antigonorrheal agents.
Dr. Samuel Massie served as Chairman of the Maryland State Board for Community Colleges for 10 years. He has been a member of this Board since its beginning in 1968. He was Chairman of the Governor's Science Advisory Council in Maryland for 10 years, and was a member of the Board of Trustees of the College of Wooster in Ohio from 1966-87. For ten years, Dr. Massie was a member of the Board of Visitors of Towson State University in Maryland. From 1958-60, he was National President of Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Honorary Society, and in 1953, he was President of the Oklahoma Academy of Science. From 1988-90, he was Grand Sire Archon (National President) of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, America's oldest black Fraternity.
In May 1993 the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association elected him to Honorary Membership in the Alumni Association. He became the second civilian Professor to be so honored and the first African American. Honorary membership is limited to 25 persons. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Bethune-DuBois Company, an organization devoted to improving the political life of African-American youth.
Dr. Massie has received countless honors and awards. In 1961 the MCA named him one of the six best College Chemistry Professors in the United States. He is listed in American Men of Science, and Who's Who in America . In 1976 the Anne Arundel County (MD) Chapter of the NAACP gave him its Freedom Funds Award, and in July 1976 Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity presented Dr. Massie with its highest award: The Laurel Wreath.
In 1980 the National Organization of Black Professional Chemists and Chemical Engineers named him as Outstanding Professor. In 1981 his alma mater, Iowa State University, awarded him its highest alumni honor: The Distinguished Achievement Citation. Dillard University accorded him the same honor in 1981. On April 16, 1987, the same organization gave him the Henry A. Hill Award for his long and distinguished service to the field of chemistry. In September 1988 The White House Initiative honored Dr. Massie with its first Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to science, technology, and community services.
In September 1989, as a graduate of two HBCU institutions, he was one of eight black Americans inducted in the National Black College Alumni Hall Of Fame in the area of Science. President Henry Ponder of Fisk University, one of his students from Langston University (Oklahoma), presented the award. That same month the Maryland Community College system recognized him for 21 years of leadership with the Maryland State Board of Community Colleges. A Massie Science Prize was established in his honor.
In November 1989 he was honored by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity for 50 years of membership and leadership. He was first initiated into the Fisk Chapter (Alpha Delta) in 1939. In October 1990 the U.S. Naval Academy presented him with the prestigious Faculty Achievement Award for his service as teacher, researcher, and promoter of the Academy. In November 1994 Massie received the 1994 James Flack Norris Award of the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society for distinguished achievement in teaching chemistry.
On March 1, 1995, Dr. Massie's portrait
was hung in the National
Academy of Science gallery. In 1997, he was named to the Chemical
& Engineering News Top
75 Distinguished Contributors to the Chemical Enterprise"
during the 75 years of C&EN's existence.
In January 1990 Dr. Massie was singularly featured by the Navy magazine All Hands, a publication distributed to all Navy personnel, in its "Spotlight On Excellence" for his lifetime service in "Training Young Minds." During that month, The Magazine for Young Black Professionals also ran a feature on Dr. Massie.
The summer 1990 issue of the Journal of the National Technical Association featured as its lead article for the section "Extending the Black Legacy through Science and Technology," a historical review by Professor Massie titled "And the Beat Goes On."
The fall 1960 issue of College Digest, sent to prospective college students, featured an article by Professor Massie on "Science and Mathematics in the Twenty-First Century."
In April 1994 at the opening of the "Science in American Life" exhibit at the National Museum of American History (Smithsonian Institute), sponsored by the American Chemical Society, aspects of his life and career were placed on permanent exhibit.
On January 16, 1990, Dr. Massie delivered the Martin Luther King, Jr, address before the prestigious Economic Club of Detroit on "Where Do We Go From Here?". This speech was beamed via cable TV to 400,000 homes in the Detroit area. Over 4,000 copies of the speech were printed for distribution.
In April 1990 Dr. Massie was the first keynote luncheon speaker at the 1990 National Convention of the National Organization of Black Professional Chemists and Chemical Engineers. His speech, a challenge to young black scientists, was titled "Quo Vadis"?
Dr. Massie continues to speak before youth groups (such as Tech-Net in Atlanta in October, 1994, and the Meyerhoff students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County) inspiring them to pursue careers in science and technology. In January 1995 he gave the Martin Luther King, Jr., Anniversary speech aboard the flagship of the Second Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk. The ship was captained by Captain Gene Kendall, USN, who, at age 13, was inspired by Professor Massie to consider a career in science, especially engineering.
In 1970 the University of Arkansas (which refused his admission application in the thirties due to the segregation policies of that University) awarded him an honorary doctorate (LL.D.). In 1985 Lehigh University awarded him a D.Sc., and the University of Maryland a D. Public Service.
In June 1990 Bowie State University (MD) awarded him the honorary degree (D.H.L.) Doctor of Humane Letters for his contributions to science, technology, education, and community service. In May 1992 The College of Wooster (Ohio) awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) degree for his contributions to science, education, and community service.
In December 1992, the National Naval Officer's Association and the U.S. Naval Academy's African-American Alumni established the Samuel P. Massie Educational Endowment Fund to help pay college tuition costs for women, minority, and low-income residents of Anne Arundel County (Maryland).
In September 1994 the US Department of Energy and the Advancing Minorities' Interest in Engineering AMIE), a coalition of FORTUNE companies and nine historically black colleges and universities combined to establish the DOE Samuel P. Massie Chairs of Excellence Professorship in Environmental Disciplines in Schools of Engineering at the nine HBCUs. Dr. Massie pursued an interest in environmental studies during his career at the Naval Academy while spending summers at the David Taylor Research Base Research facilities near Annapolis working in such diverse areas as: (a) analyses of waters deposited by ships in dock at marine facilities; (b) studies of chemicals used to prevent and/or remove barnacles from ships; (c) development of chemicals to be used as protective foams against nerve gases lobbed by missiles onto the decks of aircraft and battleships; (d) studies of detergents used aboard ships; (e) analyses of toxic metals like copper, tin, and lead in parts per billion; and (f) fire-prevention studies.
Dr. Massie is married. His wife Gloria recently retired from teaching Psychology at Bowie State University. She was also Society Editor for JET magazine. They have three sons, all of whom finished law school.
Dr. Massie's expressed desire is to be known "as a teacher who cared about his students," and "one who made a difference in their lives."