Tonight on NPT-Channel 8 at 7:00 p.m. CST, Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson portrays Percy Julian in NOVA: FORGOTTEN GENIUS, a portrait of one of the great black scientists of the 20th century. The grandson of Alabama slaves, Julian was an industrialist, self-made millionaire, humanitarian and civil-rights pioneer. It wasn’t an easy ride though. Along the way. his house was firebombed; a scandalous affair got him fired in the middle of the Depression; the doors of academia were slammed in his face, since no one expected an African American to rise higher than teaching high school. NOVA presents his dramatic life story in a two-hour “Lives in Science” biography.
Julian’s alma mater DePauw University has gone all out with an excellent section of its web site dedicated to the show.
“Nobody knows the hardships many African Americans have endured just to survive, let alone be recognized for their work,” writes Tom Dorsey in the Louisville Courier-Journal. “Percy Julian knew.”
“Forgotten Genius” is a work of considerable scholarship by Nova – no other biography has been written about Julian,” writes Roger Catlin at the Hartford Courant. “And it succeeds through the stately portrayal in re-enactments by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.”