Edward Everet Just was born in Charleston, South Carolina on August 14, 1883. He was one of three children. His father was a dock worker and his mother a school teacher.
Just demonstrated academic excellence throughout his life. He was the only person in his class to graduate magna cum laude from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire in 1907. As a junior he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
After graduation, Just taught at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and conducted research during the summer months at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He became known as “the expert” on the early life of sea animals and the physiology of cell development. While at the laboratory in Woods Hole, he correctly challenged the work of an eminent white researcher. As a result, the racism and prejudice he experienced increased; however, he published more than 50 scientific papers and was one of the authors of General Cytology (1924). From 1930 until 1941 he lived in and worked at prestigious European laboratories and authored the text book Biology of the Cell Surface (1939).
Just was one of the four founders of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at Howard University in 1911. He went to Chicago where he completed his Ph.D. in biology and zoology at the University of Chicago in 1916.
Edward Everet Just died on October 27, 1941.