Writing for The Conversation, Melillo, Amherst’s William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History and Environmental Studies, notes: “Turner authored 71 papers and was the first African American to have his research published in the prestigious journal Science. Although his name is barely known today, Charles Henry Turner [1867–1923] was a pioneer in studying bees and should be considered among the great entomologists of the 19th and 20th centuries.”
“While researching my book on human interactions with insects in world history,” continues Melillo, referring to his 2020 publication The Butterfly Effect, “I became aware of Turner’s pioneering work on insect cognition, which constituted much of his groundbreaking research on animal behavior.”
Melillo’s essay, which has been picked up by numerous other websites, describes Turner’s early life and education, as well as the difficulties he encountered in securing long-term employment at a university; he spent most of his career teaching at Sumner High School in St. Louis. Turner not only conducted and published entomological studies that are still widely cited today, but also wrote extensively about education for African Americans.