The Amazing Amanda Holley: A Rising Star whose Light and Music Will Heal the World.

On a spring like day in the middle of the week in February I find myself walking into a cozy and chic coffee-house in Gramercy Park to meet with the amazing Amanda Holley and her manager the legendary Ralph Cooper the 2nd, while they were enjoying a late brunch and sipping coffee. (yeah it was that kind of day). Upon seeing me enter the restaurant, they both invited me to join them. Sitting next to an iconic legend on one side and the beautiful Amanda on the other I felt like royalty (while ordering a large coffee)  for I definitely was in the presence of royalty. After catching up with my two old friends in some meaningful and intelligent conversation, I began my interview with Amanda Holley, who is a recording artist, musician, song writer, and a published poet.


Amanda who is an east coast native (Born in Newark NJ) and spent most of her time “bouncing between Jersey and the Upper West Side of Manhattan when I finally met my aunt who actually was a songwriter who wrote for Stephanie Mills.” Amanda went on to tell me: “First and foremost I’m an artist. I make music because it’s who I Am, my mom told me that I sang even before I could speak, my Mother was a trained concert cellist and joked that she trained my ear in the womb. She went to the Manhattan School of Music, and my dad who I met later on in my childhood wrote for Sara Vaughan and he sang and played the piano, so maybe it came from my parents but I’ve always been a singer and will always be a singer, and the songwriting thing I was doing since I was about three, I started playing violin when I was two and a half and piano when I was around four, I started teaching myself (more self-taught with the piano, mainly forcing myself to play the piano to get all my song ideas out).”

I asked Amanda how does she work when she’s writing songs: “Mostly for me with the songwriting I always say the songs are in the air. I just pull them out of the sky, out of the ether. It feels like the music is always there at any given moment in time. Let’s say I’m going to fix breakfast now, than a song comes out. If I’m just sitting down like Ralph is sitting there, than like five, ten, twenty songs will just keep coming. I’m not saying that every single song is a pop song, or that every song is something I would play for like radio, maybe it would be more of a piece for theater or maybe classical.”


(Photo Credit: Tian Qiu) 

Now anyone who really knows me knows that I love classical music. So I asked Amanda how she feels about Bach and Beethoven: “Classic music is awesome! Bach is my boo, Beethoven is my hubby, Sondheim is my second hubby. Sondheim is technically musical theatre, but I started playing violin when I was two and a half because I saw my mother playing in the orchestra pits, I was sitting with her in the pits and everyone had a violin, and I was like, I need one too.”

“Classical music is something that is in me, and I think that it’s really incredible that I landed an incredible musician for a mom, to go to her school and study. Classical music has a huge influence on R&B music, so it’s really cool to hear it that way, it’s also something that I may have taken for granted, when I was around ten years old my aunt went to Julliard and she wrote for Stephanie Mills and managed her for the first portion of her career, she discovered her at a talent pageant when she was 13, her friend was the director of the prep program, and I started working with teachers at Julliard and that was really an experiment for me to open my voice up to doing different things that I didn’t even know that was there, and I started singing a lot of classical music as well as playing it.”


The most important thing to Amanda artistically is the purity of the music and really being who she is: “The music is the only place where I can be myself, and the stage is where I actually feel at home and free of everything, like that where I feel like I’m flying. I always say singing is like breathing to me, so like everywhere else in life I just feel real awkward, but when I’m making the music it feel like the real me. And when it comes to artistry the thing that always inspires me to be honest in my work is remembering all the great artists that inspired me and gave me hope and gave me the insight into life that I needed as a little girl, so inspiring others is a big deal for me.”

(Photo Credit: Phyllis Meredith and  Sekou Diarra)

One of the many amazing things about Amanda is that one can tell that she is an old soul that is very spiritually connected to all living beings, just by listening to her talk, and when she sings it reverberates through the very core of your being. prior to the interview when we were talking, I discovered that we read the same books on spirituality by some of the same authors, ancient and current. She is truly aware of her own consciousness and how it’s connected to everything and everyone else which reflects in her songwriting and more so when she’s singing.

(Photo Credit: Nino Ignacio)

I asked Amanda what role she thinks an artist plays in society: “I think that every artist serves a different purpose. Artist’s are not just people walking around that decided to wear something cool and put a statement on their head, artists are extensions of the universe working through us (humanity) and for us, so each artist serves a certain purpose. Some are instigators, some are offering insight about fate, some might be allowing us to release our pain, whether it’s Metallica or Prince or Madonna, each artist serves its purpose.”

(Photo Credit: Steve Berebbi)

“I’ve always known my purpose, people would ask me to sing and they would cry or be happy. When I’m just living the music it allows people to get in touch with what their feeling or what they are holding back from themselves, and it frees something in them too, whatever it is, it could be passion or hurt, pain or love or whatever the feeling is. So emotionally I’m here to be a catalyst (a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change) for other people to live out what their feeling. Also to provide inspiration, ultimately when I get to where I want to be, I want to be here for people because my second love is for people, actually my love for both is equal, and children especially, I want to work with kids.” Her response to this question moved me greatly.

     (Photo Credit: Steve Berebbi  and Dan Culleton)

Amanda believes in the power of music to bring people together and to heal: “Getting people to sing together, and be together in that moment and get every age, color and ethnic background and their all going to come together in that one moment, in one song for those few minutes and all be transported to another zone, and to be able to be a conduit for that is a major blessing for me which just makes me happy. To me that shows the power of music. Music, frequency, and sound waves is what everything is created on. This makes my whole life worth it, to able to get up and tell my story, realizing that no matter where an individual comes from, each human being has lived the same story, just a bit differently, and the more that I’ve embraced that, the more that I’ve been able to let go of my own pain, and transform it.” Spiritual Alchemy indeed!

Holley, Amanda

January 2017 Hartford


(Photo Credit: Phyllis Meredith)

When song writing I asked Amanda what sort of themes does she pursue: “I’m a romantic so I write a lot about love in all it’s forms, love for people as a whole, love for that person I’m in love with, and love for myself which I’m learning to do everyday, and I’m getting close to that goal.”

Asking Amanda about what’s scary about the music industry, she had this to say: “The music industry is a pretty cutthroat industry, and you can have people who you think are your friends and those same people can turn around and do things to you that are painful and horrible. It can be scary at the time, like you can put your whole career in this persons hand and they went completely AWOL, and now I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, when someone does something catastrophic to your art, it’s hard to continue, but that was the moment when Ralph stepped in, and I knew from the minute I heard his voice, but I didn’t know just how instrumental he would be, and I was very blessed, because you have a lot of people in this business that talk and do things for you, but very few who actually care.”

(Photo Credit: Phyllis Meredith)

Concerning a real life experience that inspired Amanda, she told me: “Reuniting  with my father was a big deal for me, I only met him a few times, and I heard he was on his last leg and I went to talk to him anyway despite my aunt and people around me concerned that I would experience sadness or pain. I went to see my dad and this was the most conversation we ever had, but my father as a writer for Sara Vaughan whose work actually he was never compensated for, but his name is on the record as Greg Holley, which is something I’m working on now. My dad didn’t recognize me as I walked in the door, I told him who I was and he was like “Oh My God”, and I played him what I was working on, and the Grammys was actually on that night, people were on the red carpet. He listened to my music and said “There is so much passion in your voice” overjoyed.  The next day my father went into a coma, and he was out for two days, my uncle didn’t want to tell me fearing that it would upset me. I finally came to the hospital and I took his hand, with my aunt and the nurse there, and I played him my music that I played for him on the first visit, especially the one that I could tell was his favorite called “Work in Progress” which is a song that I will probably release on my third album. Upon me playing my song for him, my dad actually came out of the coma, sat up looked at me, smiled and said “I love you and I’m sorry”. That was the healing power of music which can reach across all circumstance and situations in this universe. Music healed my father, and he stuck around for about eight more months with only 20% of  brain wave function, he stuck around that long for me.” A true testament to the light working of this phenomenal woman’s music.

(Photo Credit: Tian Qiu) 

So was she sent to earth to help and heal humanity? A demi-goddess, angel-incarnate? I believe maybe a little bit of both. Whatever the case may be, Aretha Franklin thought she was special. While Amanda was at Coney Island Summer Series, she watched Aretha perform and backstage stopped to give Amanda compliments: “Aretha was super cool to me backstage, she would always come over to me and give me like three seconds to say things like “you’re gonna be alright”, “I love those shoes”.

At this point right in the middle of the interview, all three of our phones rang in tandem, It was Carl Van Neveus III, executive producer of CODE NYC Media Group/Code NYC Magazine, who was hosting the DJ Dougie Fresh radio show that day, calling us to give shout outs on the radio show. After Ralph, Amanda and myself took our turns taking on the show, we got back to the interview.

Not surprisingly, Amanda continued by talking about spiritual matters: “I meditate a lot, I love candles, angels, crystals. I love all traditions, I love to draw from almost all spiritual teachings. I’m very eclectic spiritually, like a hippie, except I don’t smoke weed, lol.”

I asked Amanda what super power she would have and why?: “I would have the power to fly, so I could fly around and save people, and be able to see  what’s going on in different parts of the world to be able to help.”

And just what would make this woman angry?: “Injustice, lying, and hypocrisy makes me angry.”

I then asked Amanda what would be her dream project: “To provide, feed, clothe and house every kid in this world actually, and all just love with no strings attached, and education that’s not indoctrinated, that’s my dream project.”


Amanda’s most inspirational place is: “The first place is the Cloisters, I love the energy there. I love being in nature, waterfalls, on top of a mountain, and the third place is anywhere where there is beautiful shoes.”

     (Photo Credit: Kevin Michael Reede and Joseph Calinda )


Amanda released her first hit single “Feenin” in mid 2016, and music video, under contract with tommy boy records, and is planning a show at the W hotel in Manhattan on March, 29th. Also later this year will be the release of two more singles and music videos, that I got a little look at (everything is so hush-hush) but all I can say is that it will be amazing. Expect to see Amanda at shows and festivals all this year, including the Code NYC music events.

     (Photo Credit: Tian Qiu )

I hope one day in the near future I will get to hear Amanda play some classical music, or even do an album or classical show, which I’m sure I would die from the sheer brilliance of the composition of her music and siren-like voice, but I’m sure that if I do perish, that Amanda would simply resuscitate me with the octave of her voice from one of her beautiful and heavenly songs. Amanda is here to stay, for the next 300 years, and we are so lucky to have her.



(Photo Credit: Steve Berebbi)


Record Label: Tommy Boy Records

Manager: Ralph Cooper 2nd

Photo Credits:

Phyllis Meredith

Kevin Michael Reede

Joseph Calinda

Tain Qu

Dan Culleton

Sekou  Diarra

Nino Ignacio

Amanda Holley’s Mom

The Consequences in the Shift of Medical Care: from Individual Medical Practitioners to Health Care Organizations.

 The consequences in the shift of medical care from individual medical practitioners to health care organizations, and how it relates to the view of health care professional is a very complex concept to relate.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2004, (“15 percent of the population or 45 million people in the United States were without health insurance coverage during 2003.”) This fact can be one of the “consequences”, a health care provider might consider. Another important “consequence” might be the quality and care patients receive under new mandates.


According to the NASW for Social Work Practice in Health Care Settings and the Health Standards Working Group, “The health care system in the United States is complex and multidisciplinary in nature, and may include a network of services such as diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, health maintenance, and prevention provided to individuals of all ages and with a range of needs. Multiple sources of financing, ranging from Medicare and Medicaid to private insurance, provide further challenges. Many consumers lack health insurance or have inadequate coverage, which causes financial stress on consumers and providers.”


How is this shifting from individual care to macro-organizational care benefiting the people who do not have health coverage, while any informed person knows that the fee’s and penalties for not signing up for “Obama Care” are much less than the monthly and yearly premiums for the health care plan itself. “Accessibility to preventive, palliative, and curative health care depends largely on the client’s ability to pay, and often, people cannot afford existing fees.” (Social Work Practice in Health Care Settings. 2005). How much more damage will be done to our flawed U.S. health care system under the new white house administration?

Quality of patient care is another factor that must be considered switching to a more macro health care system.  How does this affect the quality of care that the patient receives under such an organizational frame work? “Traditionally, hospitals have been structured along departmental lines organized by skill area and professional scopes of practice. For example, the respiratory therapy aide and the respiratory therapist can be found in the Pulmonary Medicine Department and report to the Director of Pulmonary Medicine.


When a hospital patient requires respiratory therapy or tests of pulmonary function, such services are “ordered” from the Pulmonary Medicine Department. When, with work restructuring, such services are provided by a member of a patient care team on a hospital unit, departmental barriers may be blurred or broken because the respiratory aide on the care team now reports to the nurse who heads the team instead of, or in addition to, the Director of Pulmonary Medicine. If, as a member of the care team, the respiratory therapy aide is now trained to perform other patient care functions as well, or if nurses or nurse’s aides are also trained to perform some activities previously only performed by respiratory therapy aides, the clear alliance to one profession or discipline is challenged.” (The effects of health care industry changes on health care workers and quality of patient care Urban Institute 2013).

 Although there are many other consequences a health care provider might consider regarding this topic, these two mentioned above have a direct and immediate profound effect on the people and patients dealing with a new and yet constantly changing “Universal Health Care System”.


Bipolar Disorder: Exploring the Cause, Symptoms and Treatment of Manic-Depression

Exploring the concepts of Bipolar Disorder/Manic-Depression, and its causes, symptoms, treatment, and symptoms. What are the causes of Manic-depression (Bipolar Disorder).What are the many symptoms of this Disorder and what are the various treatments for Bipolar Disorder. How does Manic-Depression affect the lives of those who have this Disorder?



What is Bipolar-Disorder?

Bipolar-Disorder which is also known as manic depression is a brain disorder illness that can cause alternating periods of elation and depression. This mental disorder is marked as causing unusual fluctuations in energy, mood, and ability to think clearly and affects the ability to function in day to day activities which can result in hurting job or school performance as well as damage family and social relationships. Some people develop bipolar disorder in childhood, but it usually presents in people predisposed to this mental disorder in late adolescence and as early adults and some present symptoms later in life. “More than 2 million American adults, (Narrow WE.: NIMH ECA prospective data July 1 1998) or about 1 percent of the population from the age of 18 and older present bipolar disorder yearly.” (Regler DA, Narrow WE., Rae et al. 1993).


Manic Depression is not always seen as a mental illness, and many people have it for many years before it is recognized and diagnosed before they can get treated for it.  When this mental illness presents in a person they can go from one emotional extreme to another is a very short period of time, i.e. from hypomania to mania (emotional highs) to a deep depression (lows).Manic Depression is not always seen as a mental illness, and many people have it for many years before it is recognized and diagnosed before they can get treated for it.  When this mental illness presents in a person they can go from one emotional extreme to another is a very short period of time, i.e. from hypomania to mania (emotional highs) to a deep depression (lows).


The emotional highs can present as feeling of euphoria (high state of happiness) with an increased boost of energy. Then an acute bout of depression (emotional lows) which gives feelings of hopelessness and a loss of interest in activities that once gave pleasure. These symptoms may last from a few times a week to several times a year, each person and case varies.


What are the Causes of Bipolar Disorder?

Much research have been done to find out what exactly are the causes of the mental illness, and many studies have been done, however there seems to be no single one cause for manic depression, but rather many internal and environmental factors presenting at once to manifest this disorder. Research studies have shown that this illness can be genetic or triggered in one’s external environment, as well as a combination of both. Genetically no one gene is responsible for bipolar disorder, but could be many genes acting at once to present the disorder. (NIMH Genetics Workgroup, 1998). Also a chemical imbalance of bio-chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters can play a significant role in mental disorders, but the truth is that which actually causes bipolar disorder in still unknown.


The Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The symptoms of bipolar disorder are manifold but are classified in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association, and lists the criteria for diagnosing bipolar and related disorders. According to the DSM-5 classification and criteria for the diagnosis of manic and hypomanic episodes, the criteria for the diagnosing based on the particular “type” or related disorder is as follows.

Bipolar I disorder:  At least one or more manic episode. The manic episodes may be preceded by or followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes. Mania symptoms cause significant impairment in a person’s life and may trigger a sense from reality called psychosis.

Bipolar II disorder: At least one major depressive episode lasting at least two weeks and at least one hypomanic episode lasting at least four days, but did not have a manic episode. Extreme depressive episodes or the unpredictable changes in mood and behaviors that cause distress and difficulty in areas of your life.

Cyclothymic disorder: At least a two year period of hypomania symptoms (milder than a hypomanic episode or bipolar 2 disorder) and periods of depressive symptoms (less severe than a major depressive episode). Symptoms can cause significant distributions in many important areas of your daily life.

The DSM-5 has a specific classification and criteria for the diagnosis of manic and hypomanic episodes:


Manic Episode:  is a marked period of abnormally high and persisting irritable mood that lasts at least one week. The episode presents increased goal-driven activity and or energy.

Hypomanic episode: is a distinct period of an abnormally burst of energy and very extreme, overbearing or irritable mood that lasts at least four continuing days.


The Symptoms and or Signs of a manic episode or Mania:

  •   A sudden increase in activity or energy and marked restlessness.
  •   Ballooned self esteem
  •   Very highly irritable
  •   Overly high euphoric mood
  •   Thoughts racing and moving from one thought to the next very rapidly
  •   Lack of need to sleep
  •   Elevated sex drive and sexual indiscretions
  •   Overly talkative
  •   Self-denial

(If three or more of the other symptoms are present along with euphoric mood for a large portion of the day, almost every day for a seven days or more than it is diagnosed as a manic episode. There must be at least four more symptoms present with an irritated mood)


Symptoms and or Signs of Depression:

(The DSM-5 Criteria for a major depressive episode are as follows):

  •   Chronic anxious or sad mood (feeling empty)
  •   High reduction of feeling joy or pleasure in activities most days almost all of the day
  •   Marked reduction of energy (feeling slow, fatigue)
  •   Sleeping to much or marked insomnia
  •   Contemplating suicide, or attempts
  •   Abnormal appetite (gaining or losing weight)
  •   Increased lack of concentration
  •   (If five or more of these symptoms are present almost all day every day for two weeks or more the diagnosis is a depressive episode.)Symptoms and or Signs of Depression:(The DSM-5 Criteria for a major depressive episode are as follows):
    •   Chronic anxious or sad mood (feeling empty)
    •   High reduction of feeling joy or pleasure in activities most days almost all of the day
    •   Marked reduction of energy (feeling slow, fatigue)
    •   Sleeping to much or marked insomnia
    •   Contemplating suicide, or attempts
    •   Abnormal appetite (gaining or losing weight)
    •   Increased lack of concentration
    •   (If five or more of these symptoms are present almost all day every day for two weeks or more the diagnosis is a depressive episode.



Disorder Treatments

The treatments available for patients with Bipolar disorder are assessed by a psychiatrist and can include mood balancing medications like mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and or anti-anxiety in tandem with psychotherapy depending on the needs of patient. Psychotherapy is a most important part of treatment and can be done in different settings such as family, group or individual setting to fit the needs of the client. A few type of psychotherapy are, cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, art therapy and psycho-education. Bipolar disorder is a chronic and lifelong disorder so it is important to seek ongoing treatment, trying different methods recommended by your doctors to achieve the best results, overall management and care over the course of your life



Bipolar and related disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. Accessed Dec. 13, 2013

Narrow, WE. One-year prevalence of depressive disorders among adults 18 and over in the U.S.; NHMH ECA prospective data. Population estimates based on U.S. Census estimated residential population age 18 and over on July 1, 1998. Unpublished.

Bipolar and related disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. Accessed Dec. 17, 2015.

Culpepper L. The diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder: Decision-making in primary care. The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders. Accessed Dec. 14, 2016.

NIMH Genetics Workgroup. Genetics and mental disorders. NIH Publication No. 98-4268, MD: National Institute of mental Health, 1998.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: The Legacy of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg’s gift to Harlem.


       (Arturo Alfonso Schomberg)

On my first visit to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture located on 135th Street and Lenox Ave in Harlem, I marveled at the exhibits celebrating the black experience including beautiful art work and even black science fiction writers, a modernspace for events and the research library downstairs. The center consists of three connected buildings, the Schomburg building, the Langston Hughes building and the Landmark building.

Under the auspices of the New York Public Library it started as The Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints, the prototype for the current center today which opened in 1925 as a special collection for the 135th Street library branch to match the needs of the growing black community. In 1926 the division won international acclaim when the Puerto Rican born black scholar and book collector Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was added to the collection, which consisted of 2,000 etchings and paintings, 3,000 manuscripts, over 5,000 books and thousands of pamphlets.

058      (The original site of the of The Collection of Negro Literature, History and Prints, Now the “Landmark Building”).

The Division was renamed the Schomburg Collection of Negro Literature, History and Prints in 1940. The center was designated a research library in 1972 by the New York Public Library and then became the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The center underwent an expansion in 1991, adding exhibition spaces, galleries and a 340 seat Langston Hughes Auditorium for lectures and performances and special events.

The history of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a rich one, and while its establishment can be traced to the very beginning, the founding of the center is a bit more complex.  Even when I asked the gentleman behind the information desk in the research library, he had a difficult time giving me an answer due to the complex nature of its founding and referred me to a couple of books on Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, a very interesting fellow who was also a black Master Mason at a Brooklyn Lodge.


(Arturo Alfonso Schomburg with his Masonic Fraters at the Brooklyn Lodge)

  In essence, the true founders of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, was The New York Public Library and Arturo Alfonso Schomburg due to his magnificent collection of books and manuscripts, as well as paintings and etchings. In 1920 Catherine Allen Latimer became the first African American librarian hired by the New York Public Library at the 135th Street branch. The Schomburg Center is currently finishing renovations for a more modern look to reflect the 21 century.

Dr. Ernest Everett Just: The African American Unsung Hero of Biology

Ernest Everett Just was an African American Biologist, Research Scientist, Educator, and Physiologist. His important work on fertilization and biology went unnoticed for many years, 40 years to be exact because he was a black man. Born on August 14, 1883 in Charleston North Carolina, Ernest Everett Just completed a four year course in only three years at Kimball Hall Academy in New Hampshire.  In his freshman year at Dartmouth College, Ernest Just had the highest marks in Greek, and with special honors in botany, history, and sociology was the only student to graduate magna cum laude in 1907.


“In 1907, Dr. Just began to teach at Howard University. Beginning in 1909, he began to conduct research as a research assistant during the summer months for Professor Frank Rattray Lillie, the second director of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In 1916, Ernest Just received the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy magna cum laude from the University of Chicago in experimental embryology, with a thesis on the mechanics of fertilization.”

Dr. Just, while academically brilliant and a phenomenal researcher, his work went largely ignored regardless of his huge contributions to science as a result of a racist scientific community and racist America.  “Ernest Everett Just, an African-American biologist known for his studies of fertilization and early development in marine invertebrates, lay forgotten, buried in the scientific literature.”


Dr. Just had and amazing ability to make marine embryos and eggs develop at a normal pace, and many marine biologists sought his knowledge on the subject. “Basic Methods for Experiments on Eggs of Marine Animals” was a laboratory manual he published in 1939. Just traveled to Naples in Italy to study the fertilization in several European sea urchins, as well to investigate if the American Platynereis megalops was the same as the Mediterranean annelid Nereis dumerllii, which he proved was not the same as many at the time have thought.

The very famous German embryologist Max Hartmann invited Dr. Just to visit the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute for Biology not far from Berlin in Germany, an invitation like this for an American was unheard of at the time. The Germans were studying whether the cell cortex could in any way be applied to their research on the Amoeba proteus, in which they saw Dr. Just’s work  on the subject to be parallel with their own work.


After graduating from college Dr. Just’s went to work as a researcher and to teach at Howard University. Dr. Just also worked for the Woods Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts in 1909. He also studied experimental embryology from the University of Chicago where he also earned his doctorate in Philosophy. Dr. Just spent time in Paris at Sorbonne penning his second book “The Biology of the Cell Surface”. In his 30 year career, Dr. Just published over 70 articles, a few of them in journals overseas in Germany.

One of his articles written in Naturwissenschaften showed for the very first time the “correlated changes in cell adhesiveness with developmental stages during the early embryonic cleavage process”. Sometime after 1936 Dr. Just’s written papers were a bit more “philosophical” and began to challenge his American contemporaries whom he regarded as adopting more simplistic theories and views. Because of his challenge to his American colleagues he was rejected and denied funding in 1938 (mostly because his theories and views were more advanced and sophisticated).

So Dr. just continued his research in self-imposed exile, in Europe at a small French fishing village, with the “Station Biologigue at Roscoff” on the English Channel. When the Nazis invaded the area near Paris he had to return to America and back to Howard University.


Dr. Everett Just has made many scientific contributions to science and Marine Biology, experimental parthenogenesis, cell division, fertilization, dehydration in living cells, hydration, and the effect of ultra violet rays which increase chromosome numbers in animals, as well as Zoology.  Dr. Just was awarded the first Springarn Medal for the outstanding achievement by a black American by the NAACP.

Dr. Just was also a contributor to Dr. Jerome Alexander’s second volume, of his series of three volumes on Colloid Chemistry. Dr. Just also had a fellowship in Biology from the National Research Council.  Dr. Just, also lectured at the Eleventh International Congress of Zoologists, which was entitled, “Role of Cortical Cytoplasm in Vital Phenomena” based on his fifty published papers on the subject in Padua, Italy in 1930. He also worked at the marine biological laboratories in Naples and in Sicily.

On June 26, 1912 Ernest Just married Ethel Highwarden a high school teacher which whom he had three children with, however they divorced in 1939. A few months later Just married a German woman he met in Berlin by the name of Hedwig Schnetzler who was a student of philosophy in Berlin.

The following year in 1940 Dr. Just was arrested by the Nazis and placed in a concentration camp, but his wife’s father had some influence in Germany and facilitated his release, and later had a daughter together which they named Elizabeth. On October 27, 1941 Dr. Ernest Everett Just died from pancreatic cancer in Washington D.C., where he was interred in Maryland at the Lincoln Cemetery in Suitland, Maryland.

In conclusion, this great man of integrity and academic achievement, a scientific genius, modest and committed to serving humanity was overlooked and passed over for his accomplishments and great contributions only because of the color of his skin. Dr. Just a great scientist in the field of Biology, and role model for young students in the sciences. Not ever mentioned in any science textbook in the United States that he had to travel to Europe to receive any type of recognition, and the best America could do is offer him a postage stamp, and that only recently!


It saddens my heart to only learn about this great African American man of science in my adulthood. I would have loved to read about Dr. Ernest Everett while I was developing my interest in the sciences as a child, he most definitely would have been one of my role models growing up, as well as for so many others of all races who have interest in the sciences.


How many other’s like Dr. Ernest Just who have had a huge impact on the lives of all Americans that I have yet to discover, who have been downplayed and buried under the rug because they are black. I salute Dr. Ernest Everett Just, and all known, and unknown unsung heroes of African American decent who despite the challenge of racism, continued to serve all of humanity for the common good of everyone.