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Four African American Leaders Making History in Renewable Energy

In honor of Black History Month, we’ve been sharing the stories of four professionals making history in renewable energy on our Facebook page and on Twitter. These innovative individuals are making an impact in the fields of climate research, environmental protection, environmental justice and clean energy. Check out each of their stories below.

Warren Washington headshot

Dr. Warren Washington

Atmospheric scientist and advisor
Born 1936
Dr. Warren M. Washington is an internationally recognized expert on atmospheric science and climate research. He specializes in computer modeling of the Earth's climate. Currently, he is a senior scientist and Chief Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Washington has published almost 200 papers in professional journals, garnered dozens of national and international awards and served as a science advisor to former presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton.

Robert Bullard headshot

Robert Bullard
Professor, environmental justice activist
Born 1946
Born in Elba, Ala, Robert Bullard is commonly referred to as the “father of the environmental justice movement.” He has been one of the leading voices against environmental racism, where minority and low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards, such as landfills. He’s authored several books on the prominence of waste facilities in predominately African American areas all over the nation. In 2008, Bullard was named one of Newsweek’s“Environmental Leaders of the Century.” He formerly served as a professor of Sociology and Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University.



Lisa Jackson headshot

Lisa Jackson
Former Administrator of the EPA
Born 1962
Lisa Jackson was the first African American to serve as EPA Administrator. Prior to her appointment she had worked for 16 years in the EPA, primarily overseeing waste cleanup operations, before working as New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection. After leaving the EPA in 2013, Jackson was named Vice President of Environmental Initiatives at Apple. Jackson holds a master's degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University. She serves on the boards of Princeton, Tulane, and the Clinton Foundation.



Felicia Davis headshot

Felicia Davis
Environmental and social justice activist
As the director of the Building Green Initiative at Clark Atlanta University, Felicia Davis has put Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) firmly on the clean energy map. She also recently spearheaded a survey of energy efficiency on HBCU campuses. The primary goal of the Building Green initiative is to increase the number of buildings and structures on HBCU campuses that register for and achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Prior to serving as director of the Initiative, Davis has worked on climate justice with Ozone Action and as director of Mothers and Others for Clean Air, where she mobilized the African American community against air pollution from coal-fired power plants.