We Did It & They Hid It: This Black Man Worked On ‘The Manhattan Project’

0 Posted by - May 24, 2022 - Black History, LATEST POSTS, We Did It And They Hid It

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: The New York Times

Harold Delaney was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 24, 1919.

During World War II, Delaney was one of a handful of African Americans who worked on the Manhattan Project. As the eldest child of William and Henriette Delaney, Harold had four sisters: Mildred, Gertrude, Laura, and Ethel; and a brother, William.

In 1941 and 1943, Delaney received his B.S. and M.A. in chemistry from Howard University in Washington, D.C. In March 1943, Delaney co-authored a study in The Publication of Organic Chemistry, a prestigious peer-reviewed journal, with his graduate advisor, Dr. Robert Percy Barnes, together with Dr. Victor Julius Tulane, and Dr. Stewart Rochester Cooper. Tulane and Cooper were both professors in the Department of Chemistry at Howard University.

In late 1943, Delaney and Barnes published a second work in The Magazine of the American Chemistry Society, another prestigious peer-reviewed magazine. When these two articles were published, Delaney had completed her Master of Arts. Barnes, Tulane, and Rochester were likewise highly busy, publishing several articles in peer-reviewed journals. In his career, Barnes published nearly 40 scholarly articles.

This is essential since peer-reviewed scientific publications are regarded the “currency of research.” After completing his M.A. in 1943, Delaney worked as a chemist on the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago between 1943 and 1945. The Manhattan Project, one of the most major scientific initiatives of the twentieth century, led to the production of the atomic bomb, which ended World War II.

After his work at the University of Chicago ended in 1945, Delaney served as an assistant professor of chemistry at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University in Greensboro, North Carolina, from 1945 to 1948. In 1946, Delaney wed North Carolina native Geraldine East. After graduating from North Carolina A&T University, where she met Delaney, East taught in the Baltimore public schools from 1953 until 1968. Doyle and Milton were the two sons of the marriage.

Later, he returned to Howard University to complete his doctorate; becoming one of the institution’s first two graduate students to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1958. Delaney worked in both academia and industry throughout his career. He was a professor at Morgan State University in Baltimore from 1948 to 1969, and a research chemist at E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. from 1966 to 1969.

In 1974, Delaney became the first male president of the women’s college Manhattanville Institution in Purchase, New York. In Washington, D.C., he became vice president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. In 1987, he departed the post. On August 2, 1994, Delaney and his wife were slain at their house in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, according to The New York Times.

Mr. Delaney was 74 years of age at the time of his death.

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