In celebration of Black History Month, Hagley is pleased to announce the launch of a new digital exhibit and documentary film about the life of Dr. Wesley Memeger Jr.. Memeger, the son of farmers, grew up in Florida where he attended segregated schools. After graduating from high school, he went on to Clark College (an HBCU, now Clark Atlanta University) where he majored in chemistry.
He earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Adelphi University in 1966 and then joined the DuPont Company in the Pioneering Research Lab where he worked for thirty years and earned fourteen patents during his tenure.
While at DuPont, he received a patent that proved critical in the production of Kevlar. Kevlar became one of DuPont’s iconic products. For first responders, it stopped bullets and flames in their uniforms and gear. Among its many other applications, it strengthened the belting in tires and retarded fire in upholstery.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, he has served as a board member for cultural and social organizations in the state, such as the Delaware Council on Crime and Justice, the Delaware Symphony Association, and the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts.
In retirement, Memeger has become an accomplished artist, taking inspiration from the geometric shapes found in molecular compounds.
The digital exhibit and documentary film are based on an oral history of Dr. Memeger conducted in 2020 by Dr. Jeanne Nutter. The exhibit features the oral history in its entirety. Both the exhibit and documentary tell the story of Memeger’s journey from the segregated South to his life and career as a scientist, artist, and activist.
Documentary film: Dr. Wesley Memeger Jr. : Science into Art
Digital Exhibit: Dr. Welsey Memeger Jr. : Scientist, Artist, Activist
The complete interview with Memeger along with a transcript are available in the Hagley Digital Archives.
The documentary and exhibit were partially funded by a grant from Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.