William Jacob Knox Jr.

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

William Jacob Knox Jr., was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts to William and Estella.  He was accepted to Harvard University’s undergraduate program in 1921. He graduated with a master’ degree in Organic Chemistry in 1929, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering 1935 for MIT.  After graduation he became a professor at North Caroling A&T College. 

In 1943, he joined a team of scientists at Columbia University.  He was working on a project I’m sure you all of heard about the Manhattan Project?  He held the position of supervisor, most of his research and finding were utilizing uranium hexafluoride.  He was a section leader in the Corrosion Section.  After the war he worked for Kodak, he held twenty-one patents with Kodak.  He died in 1995, he was 91.

What you may not know about William is that he did his postgraduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his family alone made up 7% of the total African Americans to hold a Ph.D.  He was the only African American supervisor for the Manhattan Project.  What an accomplishment, don’t you think?

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Comments (21)

Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, James Dray 

William Jacob Knox, Jr.

Feb 28, 2021 03:47 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

It sounds like he was a very smart man and it really shouldn't matter what color someone's skin is.

Feb 28, 2021 04:02 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Ontario, NY

Good morning James,

The glory years for Kodak and his patents are still being renewed.

I wish that I could have had the opportunity to meet him at the big K.

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Feb 28, 2021 04:43 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, James, for sharing this story.

Take care, be safe and have a great day.

Feb 28, 2021 04:58 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello James - learning continues each for me.  I am hopeful that it is true, each and every day, for others as well.   

Feb 28, 2021 05:00 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

Great achievement is great achievement, it certainly isn't even greater because of skin color James Dray . I wish America would get past these labels.

Feb 28, 2021 05:12 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning James. Some people only see what is in fornt of them and don't get off track with detours. More of William type are needed. Enjoy your day.

Feb 28, 2021 05:40 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Quite an accomplishment, indeed, James. And goes to show why we should all be color blind.

Feb 28, 2021 05:59 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


What a great story, and this illustrates the old adage of "Where there is a will, there is a way!"  A

Feb 28, 2021 07:11 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Good morning James Dray yes his was a life that was quite distinguished

Feb 28, 2021 08:20 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi James Dray - that is quite an accomplishment.  Too bad he couldn't steer Kodak in the right direction.

Feb 28, 2021 08:59 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Wow what a great project to be involve with.  Sometime we need more smart people like him to gtet involve in something.


Feb 28, 2021 09:02 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

James- what an amazing and courageous man and thank you to Lise Howe and Barbara Todaro for providing us with more information. 

Feb 28, 2021 10:06 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi James Dray - It is amazing to hear that Know and his family made up 7% of the PHDs awarded.  This was some family. 

Feb 28, 2021 11:15 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi James:

I always enjoy reading about those who have accomplished so much, and in particular when there has been adversity of some sort to overcome.


Feb 28, 2021 11:42 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Again you have taught me something I was unaware of James Dray 

Feb 28, 2021 04:03 PM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Hello James Dray, William Jacob Knox Jr. had many great accomplishment during his lifetime.

Feb 28, 2021 05:28 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Wow I had no idea and funny I lived next to MIT for ten years well 6-10 miles from it:)Endre

Feb 28, 2021 10:33 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear James,

What a remarkable man. Amazing, what he overcame by his smarts. It must have taken something to do so. A shame for all the others, who were excluded from education. We need all the smart people we have to overcome some of our challenges and keep this country competitive. The best inventions are still ahead.

Mar 19, 2021 09:46 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

The accomplishments of William Jacob Knox Jr. were numerous and impressive. To have achieved what he was able do in the face of racist pushback that came his way is further proof of his genius.

Sep 06, 2021 05:53 PM