Dr. Wesley Memeger Jr.: Scientist, Artist, Activist

Dr. Wesley Memeger Jr.
(David Pollack)

When Dr. Wesley Memeger Jr. started at DuPont in 1964, he was only the fourth African American with a doctorate in chemistry to join the company.

Over the course of a thirty-two-year career, Memeger amassed fourteen patents and left his mark on some of DuPont’s most famous products, like Kevlar, the synthetic fiber found in bulletproof vests. His passion for chemistry has also influenced his career as an artist; Memeger’s pieces often explore geometrical themes reminiscent of molecular models. Today, he and his wife Harriet, a fiber artist, pursue their joint love of art together.

In this exhibit, listen as Memeger recounts his journey, beginning as the son and grandson of farmers in St. Augustine, Florida during the era of Jim Crow laws, following his interest in science to Clark College, a historically Black university in Atlanta, at the height of the movement for Black civil rights, to his career at DuPont and his intriguing transition from scientist to artist. Throughout his life, he has advanced innovation, justice, philanthropy, and art.

This digital exhibit includes clips from an oral history of Dr. Memeger conducted by Dr. Jeanne Nutter in 2020. That same interview served as the primary source for a documentary titled Science into Art, which is available to view in its entirety below and via YouTube:


This program is partially funded by a grant from Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The banner image includes a detail from Toward Disharmony II, a painting by Wesley Memeger. Jr. Images in this digital exhibit (unless otherwise noted) are from the private collection of Wesley Memeger, Jr.

Exhibit curated by Kevin Martin and Angela Schad with technical assistance from Michael Demers