Since there are so many facets of the history that people of African descent have made in this country, I’ve decided to continue my “Black History 365″ series from my poetry blog here on my AfrocentriqueAZ blog. I’ll be posting a new “First Black” every day this month and every Wednesday for the months after that.
In honor of WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH all March the articles will all be about first Black WOMEN… Today’s is (Martha) Euphemia Lofton Haynes
(Martha) Euphemia Lofton Haynes (September 11, 1890, Washington, D.C. – 25 July 1980, Washington, D.C.) was an American mathematician and educator. She was the first African-American woman to gain a PhD in mathematics, from the Catholic University of America in 1943.
Euphemia Lofton was the first child and only daughter of William S. Lofton, a dentist and financier, and Lavinia Day Lofton. After graduating from Washington D.C. Miner Normal School with distinction, she went on to earn an undergraduate mathematics major (and psychology minor) from Smith College in 1914. In 1917 she married Harold Appo Haynes. She gained a masters degree in education from the University of Chicago in 1930, and in 1943 gained her PhD from The Catholic University of America. Her dissertationh, supervised by Aubrey Landrey, was entitled The Determination of Sets of Independent Conditions Characterizing Certain Special Cases of Symmetric Correspondences. Dr. Haynes had a great career in her hometown. She taught in the public schools of Washington, D.C., for 47 years and was the first woman to chair the DC School Board. She taught first grade at Garrison and Garfield Schools, and mathematics at Armstrong High School. She was an English teacher at Miner Normal School; taught mathematics and served as chair of the Math Department at Dunbar High School. Haynes was a professor of mathematics at Miner Teachers College and at the District of Columbia Teachers College where she was chair of the Division of Mathematics and Business Education.
She retired in 1959 from the public school system, but went on to establish the mathematics department at Miners Teacher’s College. She also occasionally taught part-time at Howard University. Haynes was involved in many community activities. She served as first vice president of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, chair of the Advisory Board of Fides Neighborhood House, on the Committee of International Social Welfare, on the Executive Committee of the National Social Welfare Assembly, secretary and member of the Executive Committee of the DC Health and Welfare Council, on the local and national committees of the United Service Organization, a member of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Catholic Interracial Council of Washington, the Urban League, NAACP, League of Women Voters, and the American Association of University Women.
Dr. Haynes was awarded the Papal Medal–Pro Ecclesia et Pontific from the Catholic Church in 1959. Euphemia Lofton Haynes died on July 25, 1980 in her hometown, Washington, D.C. She had set up a trust fund to support a professorial chair and student loan fund in the School of Education, giving $700,000 to Catholic University.