While a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago he twice won the Elizabeth Norten Price for Excellence in Chemical Research in 1944 and 1945, paving the way for inexpensive peroxide compounds to be used in chemical reactions.
Dr. McBay then returned to Atlanta as an Assistant Professor at Morehouse College, becoming Department Chair in 1956. During this time he also served as a consultant to the UNESCO chemistry education program in Liberia. He later taught at Spelman College and Atlanta Clark University, serving a total of 41 years in the Atlanta University system until his death in 1995.
Regarding racism, Dr. McBay said that
"Nature distributes its talents and capabilities and its faults at random throughout the human species. People are not yet willing to accept that."