The Manhattan Project

African-Americans

Ronald E. Mickens' Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, in Washington, D.C. It is July 30, 2018. I have with me Ronald Mickens, and I’d like him to tell his full name and spell it.

Ronald Mickens: My full name is Ronald, spelled the usual way, R-o-n-a-l-d, Elbert, E-l-b-e-r-t, Mickens, M-i-c-k-e-n-s. I was born in Petersburg, Virginia, right down the road, February 7, 1943.

Ronald E. Mickens

Ronald Mickens is a physicist who currently teaches at Clark Atlanta University. He is a prominent voice amongst the African American scientific community, and has written several works documenting the feats of previous black physicists. He was friendly with several African-American scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project, including J. Ernest Wilkins, and describes their careers and the racism they faced.

Martin Mandelberg

Dr. Martin Mandelberg is an engineer who is writing a biography on his doctoral advisor, Manhattan Project mathematician Richard Hamming. In this interview, Mandelberg discusses his work at General Dynamics, the Naval Underwater Sound Lab, SAIC, the Defense Department, and other jobs. He provides an overview of Hamming’s life and career, highlighting Hamming’s many important contributions to computing at Los Alamos and Bell Labs, and Hamming’s passion for solving big problems. Mandelberg also praises Hamming’s mentorship of his graduate students.

Valeria Steele Roberson's Interview

Cindy Kelly: Tell us about your work and what you’ve learned about the African Americans who worked here in Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project.

Valeria Steele Roberson: I became interested in this project when I was a little girl. My grandmother used to tell us stories about the ‘40s, how they came here and left their children back in Alabama with their grandmother. She would always talk about giving one day to the bomb, and about the rats, and the plank sidewalks, and all those kinds of things.

Kattie Strickland's Interview

Cindy Kelly: Today is Tuesday August 13, 2013, I am Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. With me is Denise Kiernan and Valeria Steele and her [grand]mother, Kattie Strickland, and we are so delighted to have you here today. Our first question for you is to say your name and spell it.

Kattie Strickland: My name is Kattie Strickland.

Kelly: And how do you spell that?

Strickland: K-A-T-T-I-E S-T-R-I-C-K-L-A-N-D.

James Forde's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I am Cindy Kelly of the Atomic Heritage Foundation. Today is Thursday, May 2, 2013. I have with me here James Forde, who is going to try to remember something about his Manhattan Project days in New York City. I am going to start with an easy question, which is to have him tell us his full name and spell it. 

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