Morgan State University designated a Historic Site by APS

American Physical SocietyEvery year, the American Physical Society (APS) recognizes a select number of sites in the United States where important events in the history of physics took place. In September 2020, Morgan State University, the birthplace of NSBP, has been designated a Historic Site by the American Physical Society (APS). The citation reads:

On April 28, 1977, Morgan State University became the birthplace of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). Its founders sought to promote the professional well-being of African American physicists within society at large and within the international scientific community. They have successfully mentored young Black students to increase their representation in physics and technology. Their persistent professional devotion to inclusion has produced the largest national organization that actively supports African American physicists.

In December 1972, a group of friends, colleagues, and former students gathered at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee to honor three prominent Black physicists: Halson Eagleson, Donald Edwards, and John Hunter. Subsequent events, which also included scientific lectures and seminars, were held at Howard University in May 1975 and Morehouse College in April 1976. “These annual gatherings, which increasingly included both undergraduate and graduate students, grew in importance and significance, and led to the realization that a formal structure was needed to be effective in understanding, analyzing, and resolving various issues confronting African American participation in physics,” said Ronald E. Mickens, Distinguished Fuller E. Callaway Professor in the Department of Physics at Clark Atlanta University, who helped organize the events. The organizers selected Morgan State University as the site of the following year’s event because of its large physics department and its proximity to other Historically Black Colleges and Universities and national research facilities, according to Mickens. The Society of Black Physicists was inaugurated there on April 28, 1977. The organization was later renamed the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) and has become the largest and most recognizable organization devoted to African-American physicists.  

For more information about this designation, click here. You can also learn more about the history of NSBP by clicking here.