21 February 2012

Vegan Black Scientist History Month

February is Black History month, and what better way to celebrate than to shoehorn my blog in there somehow.  While I was not able to find many Black vegan scientists (the best I did with my half-assed web searching was Nduka Okoh, so let me know of others), here are a couple of African-American scientists who made life better for vegans.
Percy Lavon Julian
Percy Julian was an American biochemist who synthesized drugs from plants such as our old friend, Glycine max. Julian capitalized on soybean's flexibility and push the boundaries of it as a chemical factory.  He also opened the first factory for isolated soy protein (though for industrial and not food use).  This is all despite losing jobs because they thought he was white.  Though the job was in a sundown town, so Julian dodged a bullet there, metaphorically and likely literally.

George Washington Carver-crop
George W. Carver
No discussion of African-American History Month is complete without mentioning George Washington Carver.  I know, we all love peanuts and peanut butter and are glad for a man born into slavery elevating this humble African staple, but have you actually looked at his recipes?  Most are easily veganizable, and many others such as peanut sausage (number 42 of 105), are already vegan.  So a good source of ideas for February potlucks.  Carver also applied his steampunk molecular gastronimic wizardry to cow peas (Vigna unguiculata, as in #36 cow pea loaf No. 2), tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum, #30 fried green), and sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas, sweet potato biscuits).  Now I want to have a George Washington Carver potluck.

I'm sure this is just dipping a toe into the pool here.  Let me know who I missed.

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