History of Black Women in the Mathematical Sciences
The first American Woman to earn a Ph.D. In Mathematics was Winifred Edgerton Merrill (Columbia U. 1886). In the early half of the twentieth century many Black women obtained a Masters Degree in Mathematics (my mother was one); however, it was not until 1943, 20 years after the first African American earned a Ph.D. In mathematics that a Black woman reached that level.
1943 The first african american woman to earn a Ph.D. In Mathematics and ninth african american to earn a Ph.D. In Mathematics was Euphemia Lofton Haynes (Catholic University).
1949 The second african american woman to earn a Ph.D. In Mathematics was Evelyn Boyd Granville (Yale University).
1950 The third african american woman to earn Ph.D.s in Mathematics was Marjorie Lee Browne (University of Michigan).
1956 Gloria Ford Gilmer is the first african american woman to publish a non-Ph.D.-thesis mathematics research paper. Had she not stopped grad school at the University of Wisconsin for marriage she would have been the fourth african american woman to earn a Ph.D. In Mathematics. Some years later she earned a Doctorate in Curriculum Instruction. However, during her entire career she has been a major force and an instrumental figure for the advancement of african americans in the Mathematical Community.
Euphemia Lofton Haynes
Evelyn Boyd Granville
Marjorie Lee Browne
Gloria Ford Gilmer
Gloria Conyers Hewitt
1960 Argelia Velez-Rodriguez becomes the fourth african american women to earn a Ph.D. In Mathematics (University of Havana).
1961 Sadie Gasaway is the fifth african american woman to earn the Ph.D. (Cornell University). Georgia Caldwell Smith passed her Ph.D. Defense in 1960, but died before the Ph.D. Was conferred posthumously in 1961. Lillian K. Bradley became the first Black woman to earn any kind of doctorate in any field at the University of Texas when she earned her D.Ed. In Mathematics Education. This is important because of the racist attitudes in the University of Texas Mathematics Department.
1962 The seventh and eigth african american women to earn a Ph.D. In Mathematics were Gloria Conyers Hewitt (University of Washington -Seattle) and Louise Nixon Sutton (New York University).
1963 Grace Lele Williams became the first Nigerian (perhaps African) woman to earn any doctorate when she got her Ph.D. In Mathematics Education (University of Chicago).
1965 Beryl Eleanor Hunte (New York University) and Thyrsa Frazier Svager at Ohio State University.
1966 The eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth african american women earned a Ph.D. In Mathematics this year: Eleanor Dawley Jones at Syracuse University; Shirley Mathis McBay at the University of Georgia; and Vivienne Malone Mayes was also the first african american woman Ph.D. In any field at the University of Texas at Austin. Mayes' struggle is typical of the difficulty of african americans who attempted to earn a doctorate in the South prior to 1970.
Louise Nixon Sutton
Eleanor Dawley Jones
Shirley Mathis McBay
1967 Geraldine Darden was the fourteenth african american woman to earn a Ph.D. In Mathematics (Syracuse University).
1968 Mary Lovenia DeConge-Watson was the fifteenth african american woman to earn a Ph.D. In Mathematics (St. Louis University).
1969 Etta Zuba Falconer was the sixteenth african american woman to earn a Ph.D. In Mathematics (Emory University).
1970 Genevieve Knight was the seventeenth african american woman to earn a Ph.D. In mathematics (Math Education-University of Maryland).
Sister Mary L. S. DeConge
1971 Joella H. Gipson (University of Illinois) and Dolores Spikes (Louisiana State University) were the eighteenth and nineteenth african american women to earn a PhD. In Mathematics.
1972 Rada Higgins McCreadie was the twentieth african american woman to earn a Ph.D. In Mathematics (Ohio State University). Also in this year, Prince Winston Armstrong earned her D.Ed. In Mathematics Education from the University of Oklahoma.
1972 Willie Hobbs Moore (University of Michigan) is first African American Woman to earn a Ph.D. In Physics
1973 Evelyn Thornton (University of Houston) earn the Ph.D.
1976 Shirley Ann Jackson is the second African American woman to earn a Ph.D. In Physics (M.I.T. 1973).
1978 Fern Hunt (The Courant Institute of New York University) earns a Ph.D. In Mathematics.
1979 Fanny Gee (University of Pittsburgh) was the eigteenth african american woman to earn a Ph.D. In Mathematics.
1980 The first book on African American Mathematicians, Black Mathematicians and their Works , finally published by Virginia K. Newell, Joella H. Gipson, L. W. Rich, and B. Stubblefield.
1985 Gloria Gilmer co-founds ISGEm, the Ethnomathematics Organization.
1990 AMUCWMA - The African Mathematical Union Commission on Women in Mathematics in Africa is founded with Grace Lele Williams as Chairman.
1992 Gloria Gilmer is the first woman to deliver a major National Association of Mathematicians lecture (the Cox-Talbot Address).
1997 Kate Okikiolu becomes the first Black to be awarded Mathematics' most prestigious young person's award, the Sloan Research Fellowship. She also won the new $500,000 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.
Dorothy Jones, in 1994-95 became the first Black woman to be National president for the Canadian Operational Research Society.
2000 The first school to graduate three African American women Ph.Ds in one year: The University of Maryland also graduates its first Mathematics women Ph.D. (Knight's 1971 degree was in Education). They are:
Tasha Inniss, Sherry Scott and Kimberly Weems.
T. Inniss, S. Scott, K. Weems
2001 Kate Okikiolu becomes the first Black woman to publish in the best mathematics journal, The Annals of Mathematics.
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created and maintained by
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