1954 – Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. becomes the first African-American general in the United States Air Force.
Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. (December 18, 1912 – July 4, 2002) was an American United States Air Force general and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen.
He was the first African-American general officer in the United States Air Force. On December 9, 1998, he was advanced to four-star general by President Bill Clinton. During World War II, Davis was commander of the 99th Fighter Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group, which escorted bombers on air combat missions over Europe. Davis himself flew sixty missions in P-39, Curtiss P-40, P-47 and P-51 Mustang fighters. Davis followed in his father’s footsteps in breaking racial barriers, as Benjamin O. Davis Sr. was the first African-American general in the United States Army.
1910 – Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau, American chemical engineer (d. 2000)
Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau (October 27, 1910 – January 12, 2000) was an American chemical engineer who designed the first commercial penicillin production plant. She was the first female member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Margaret Hutchinson was born in 1910 in Houston, Texas, the daughter of a clothing store owner. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Rice Institute in 1932 and her Doctor of Science degree in chemical engineering from MIT in 1937, the first woman to earn a doctorate in the subject in the USA. Her thesis topic was The effect of solute on the liquid film resistance in gas absorption.
On May 1, 1939, she married William Caubu Rousseau, a co-worker at E.B. Badger & Sons, who was later a chemical engineering lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They had one son, William.
She died January 12, 2000, aged 89, at her home in Weston, Massachusetts.
Hutchinson started her professional career with E. B. Badger (where she met her husband-to-be). During the Second World War she oversaw the design of production plants for the strategically important materials of penicillin and synthetic rubber. Her development of deep-tank fermentation of Penicillium mold enabled large-scale production of penicillin. She worked on the development of high-octane gasoline for aviation fuel. Her later work included improved distillation column design and plants for the production of ethylene glycol and glacial acetic acid.
She retired in 1961 and became an overseer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Honors and Other Activities
In 1945, Hutchinson became the first woman to be accepted as a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
In 1955 she received the Achievement Award of the Society of Women Engineers.
In 1983 she was the first female recipient of the prestigious Founders Award of the AIChE.
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