I came across a fascinating episode of NOVA on PBS last week about Dr. Percy Julian. Who??? He was only one of the most important chemists in the 20th century. The title of the episode is "Forgotten Genius" and it tells not only about Dr. Julian's amazing accomplishments as a chemist, but also his struggles as a successful African American in a 1950's white Chicago suburb.
PBS has a companion website where you can stream the entire program (or watch for it being replayed this month on your local PBS station), hear excerpts of a 1965 speech, and learn about his discoveries and life struggles. URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/julian/