Ralph Alexander Gardner was one of the country’s leading chemists. He worked on classified plutonium research on the Manhattan Project (from 1943-1947), which developed the atomic bomb that would eventually be dropped on Japan in 1945. The bomb was credited with ending World War II. He was born Dec. 3, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio. Gardner, who died in March at the age of 95, is one of America’s hidden figures.
He Was Told He Could Only Be Kitchen Help or a Busboy
As the only black student in the cooperative program, which was responsible for job placement at the Case School of Applied Science, Gardner was told that his future employment prospects were limited to domestic or menial labor. And they told him they were having a hard time finding positions for him even there. Gardner transferred to the University of California Berkley. He transferred again to the University of Illinois School of Chemistry where he graduated in 1943.