Famous Black Mathematicians Whom the World Can't Thank Enough

Famous Black Mathematicians
Time has witnessed many well-known mathematicians who have come up with interesting new discoveries in the field of mathematics. To know about some of the famous African-American mathematicians, read this Buzzle article.
The Firsts
Elbert Frank Cox was the world's first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics. Euphemia Haynes was the first African-American woman mathematician to achieve this.
Mathematics has continued to interest many, since centuries. Several mathematicians and theorists, through their theorems and corollaries, have found solutions to many complex mathematical problems and have shaped the modern-day mathematics. Among the renowned mathematicians, there are many African-Americans who have proved their genius through the contribution they made to the field, only to be counted as some of the famous mathematicians of all time. Here is a list of some inspiring legends that have made their mark in the field of mathematical education.
(Note: This list is in no particular order and contains some of the very well-known African-American mathematicians.)
Benjamin Banneker (November 9, 1731 - October 9, 1806)
Benjamin Banneker was a mathematician, astronomer, clockmaker, and publisher. During his childhood years, he was taught to read and write, and some basic arithmetic by a Quaker schoolmaster. When he was capable of helping his parents at their farm, he stopped taking formal education.
When Banneker was 21 years of age, he saw a patent watch that belonged to a man named Josef Levi. Seeing his keen interest in the watch, Levi presented it to Banneker. Banneker started examining the watch and its working. He designed huge replicas of the watch by calculating the gear assemblies and made a huge striking clock - the first one to be made completely in America. This invention of Benjamin Banneker served as an accurate timepiece and he earned recognition as a clockmaker. Banneker contributed to the field of astronomy, by devising calculations to predict solar and lunar eclipses.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ He is famous for his puzzles in mathematics and trigonometry. His puzzle, 'Trigonometry' demonstrates his expertise in logarithms. People still wonder which logarithmic table he might have used.

✦ He was instrumental in devising a method of finding the lengths of the sides of an equilateral triangle inscribed in a circle, whose diameter is known.
Benjamin Banneker
Dudley Weldon Woodard (October 3, 1881 - July 1, 1965)
He is recognized as one of the most extraordinary mathematicians in the nation. He dedicated his entire life to mathematics by being a mentor to many Ph.D. students. Some of the renowned mathematicians including Dr. W.W.S. Claytor and Dr. Marjorie Lee Browne were his students.
He obtained his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Wilberforce College in Ohio in 1903. He earned a B.S. degree in 1906 and an M.S. degree in 1907 from the University of Chicago. He was teaching mathematics for 7 years (1907-1914) at the Tuskegee Institute. For the next 6 years (1914-1920) he was a Wilberforce faculty. It was in 1920 that he joined Howard University and was appointed as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences till 1929.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ He was the second African-American to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. He obtained the degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1928.

✦ He was the first African-American mathematician whose research papers were published in an internationally accredited mathematics journal. His thesis was On two dimensional analysis situs with special reference to the Jordan curve theorem, which was published in 1929.

✦ During his tenure at Howard University, Dr. Dudley made a significant contribution towards the development of mathematical studies and research. He was the one responsible for the establishment of the M.S. Degree program in mathematics at Howard. Also, he was the one who established a mathematics library at Howard. He also pioneered the sponsorship and organization of various scholarly seminars for the students of mathematics at Howard.
Kelly Miller (July 18, 1863 - December 29, 1939)
Kelly Miller was a mathematician and also a sociologist, newspaper columnist, author, and essayist. He graduated from the Howard University in 1886. He was a law graduate from the Howard School of Law. In 1890, he was hired as a mathematics professor at the Howard University. During his service there, he introduced sociology in the curriculum and gave a new dimension to the classical curriculum during his tenure as a dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. His articles and essays were published in various magazines, newspapers and included in various famous books. He endorsed the concept of a symmetrical development through education, which offered both vocational and intellectual instruction.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ He was awarded a scholarship and was admitted to Howard University. He enrolled in the Preparatory Department which emphasized subjects including Latin, Greek, and Mathematics. The genius in him completed the normal three-year curriculum in just two years.

✦ He was the first student from an African-American descent to be admitted to Johns Hopkins University. He started his graduate studies in mathematics, physics, and astronomy.

✦ He was the Vice-President of the American Negro Academy of Experimental Geometry.
Kelly Miller
Elbert Frank Cox (December 5, 1895-November 28, 1969)
Since childhood, he exhibited a flair for mathematics and physics. He was also talented in playing the violin. He took up a major in mathematics at the Indiana University. He continued his studies, first in the Cornell University and then in the McGill University in Montreal. Being an African-American, he had to face difficulties in his pursuit of mathematics, but he rose above them to earn a doctorate in that subject. Cox expanded the work on Euler polynomials and introduced generalized Euler polynomials as also the generalized Boole summation formula and studied several specialized polynomials. From 1925, Cox served the West Virginia State College as a teacher of mathematics and physics. In 1930, he started teaching math at the Howard University. He was an enthusiastic professor and extremely popular among his students. His death in 1969 meant the loss of an excellent teacher and a renowned mathematician.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ He was the first African-American not only in the United States, but also in the world to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics. He received his doctorate from Cornell University in 1925.

✦ It is said that he became an inspiration to other mathematics students, especially those that came from an African-American descent. While he taught in Howard, he taught the maximum number of students enrolled for a Master's degree. His students also performed better than any other professor at the time.

✦ He specialized in differential equations, interpolation theory, and difference equations. He was the head of the department of mathematics in Howard University, and was also an active member of the American Mathematical Society, among the other educational societies.

✦ In the honor of this famous mathematician, the National Association of Mathematicians, every year, at their national meeting delivers the Cox-Talbot Address. A scholarship fund named The Elbert F. Cox Scholarship Fund was also created to aid black students to pursue their studies.
Elbert Frank Cox
David Blackwell (April 24, 1919 - July 8, 2010)
David Blackwell was a Professor Emeritus of Statistics at the University of California. Since an early age of 16, his love for mathematics kept growing. He earned his Ph.D. at the young age of 22. His dissertation on Markov chains gave him the Rosenwald Postdoctoral Fellow so that he could pursue his research in the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. However, because of the opposition faced within the University regarding his race, Blackwell realized the fact that an African-American would be allowed to teach only in African-American colleges, so, he started applying in such institutes. He served in the Southern University and then at the Clark College in Atlanta. In 1946, he became an associate professor in the Howard University. It was during this time that he became interested in the field, theory of games. He also wrote a book with Abe Girshek on this topic in 1954, titled Theory of Games and Statistical Decisions. In 1955, he became a professor of statistics at UC, Berkeley. He is among some of the most noted mathematicians the world has seen.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ He was the first African-American to make it to the National Academy of Sciences.

✦ The famous Rao-Blackwell Theorem that deals with transformation of estimators in statistics has been named after this genius.

✦ He had a particular interest in the "duelist game", and he became a notable expert in this area during the Cold War, as this game had a tremendous significance on the nuclear strategies.

✦ In recognition of his work on Operations Research, he was awarded the John von Neumann prize. He also contributed to the field of Statistical Theory, and for this, had won the R.A. Fisher prize.
William Waldron Schieffelin Claytor (January 4, 1908 - 1967)
Dr. Claytor was one of the most promising mathematicians of all time. He did an M.A. in mathematics in 1930, from Howard University, and earned his Ph.D. degree in 1933, from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his Ph.D. under the guidance of J.R. Kline. Kline also recommended Claytor's name to Dr. Wilder, who was attracting a group of qualified and experienced topologists. After learning about Claytor's abilities in the subject, he was one of the members of the Michigan topologists group.
Considering the abilities that he possessed, Claytor, during his post-doctoral studies in topology, was recommended by his colleagues for a faculty position at Michigan. However, his appointment was never made because of his race. The same thing happened in other institutions that were taken into consideration. After this experience Claytor lost interest in research, and continued to teach.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ He was the third African-American to receive a Ph.D., after his teachers Elbert Cox and Dudley Woodard. His dissertation was on Topological Immersion of Peanian Continua in a Spherical Surface.

✦ Apart from dissertation, he was the first African-American to publish his mathematical research. In 1934, his embedding theorem was published. His published work was an advancement of the theory introduced by a Polish mathematician Casimir Kuratowski on certain figures. When Claytor researched and incorporated this theory into an effective whole, mathematicians started addressing these figures as "Claytor curves".

✦ In his honor, the National Association of Mathematicians, in 1980, established a lecture series called the Claytor Lecture.
J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr. (November 27, 1923 - May 1, 2011)
Wilkins was a notable mathematician and a nuclear scientist who gained fame at the age of 13, when he became the youngest student of the University of Chicago. He was often referred to as the "negro genius" by the media.
He completed B.Sc. in mathematics by the age of 17, and was an M.Sc. by the time he was 18. He completed his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago at the age of 19! Being the genius that he truly was, his life has paved way for some of the most notable works in the field of mathematics and science. Having the troubles he faced because of his race, he made sure that he helped minority students to pursue their career interests in sciences. He was also a part of the Manhattan Project during World War II. In total, he had earned five science degrees during his lifetime. He finds a place in the list of famous African-American mathematicians.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ He is responsible for the development of mathematical models through which the calculation of the amount of absorbed gamma radiation in a material, can be easily calculated. This development has helped in the research conducted in the projects associated with nuclear science and space.

✦ Apart from mathematics, he was also responsible for the discovery of various phenomena in the area of physics. The Wilkins affect, Wilkins spectra, and the Wigner-Wilkins are some examples of the thermal neutrons phenomena that were named after him.

✦ He published several papers on a wide range of subjects that included linear differential equations, integrals, differential geometry as also optics and nuclear engineering. Howard University appointed him as Distinguished Professor of Applied Mathematical Physics in 1970. He was also a joint owner of an organization which developed and designed nuclear reactors for electrical power generation.
Euphemia Lofton Haynes (September 11, 1890 - 25 July, 1980)
Born as Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes, this legendary mathematician was an inspiration to the African-American women who struggled to break the norms and preconceived notions set by the world towards them. Being the first African-American female to earn a doctorate, Haynes' devoted her life towards the improvement of the educational system in Washington D.C. She graduated with distinction in 1909 from the Miner Normal School in Washington D.C., followed by a Bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1914 from the Smith College in Massachusetts. She continued her studies even after her marriage, earning a Master's degree from the University of Chicago in 1930, followed by becoming the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ She was the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics in the year 1943 from The Catholic University in Washington D.C. Her dissertation was on the topic The Determination of Sets of Independent Conditions Characterizing Certain Special Cases of Symmetric Correspondences.

✦ She was a mathematics teacher in various public schools in Washington D.C., and also served as a mathematics professor in colleges. She established the mathematics department in the Miner Teachers College. She was also the first woman to become the president of the Washington, D.C. Board of Education.

✦ During her 47-year-long career in the field of education, she worked towards the desegregation of the school system, as the practice of racial segregation was pretty evident at the time. After her death, she left an amount of $700,000 to The Catholic University of America, which was used to establish an endowed chair and fund for student loan in the education department. She was also honored with the medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from Pope John XXIII in the year 1959.
Euphemia Lofton Haynes
Evelyn Boyd Granville (May 1, 1924 - )
Mathematics had always been her favorite subject, although, there was a point in her life when she considered switching her major from mathematics to astronomy. Unaware of the progress astronomy would make in the near future, she pursued her career in mathematics and became one of the greatest mathematicians in history. She is also a scientist, researcher, and an educator, contributing her expertise in the field of computer science during its pioneer years. She has worked for highly esteemed organizations including NASA, IBM, and North American Aviation. She graduated from Dunbar High School and entered Smith College in 1941 to continue her further studies, graduating summa cum laude in 1945 with mathematics honors. Later she joined the Yale University, from where she completed her Ph.D. becoming one of the pioneer African-American women in the world to earn a doctorate. In her career as an educator, she worked towards the development of the education system, believing that if she has been fortunate to be educated enough, why not help the others with the same.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ She is the second African-American woman to receive her Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University in the year 1949. Her dissertation was on the topic On Laguerre Series in the Complex Domain.

✦ She also co-authored a book titled Theory and Application of Mathematics for Teachers which was published in 1975. This book was adopted by more than 50 colleges in the United States of America.

✦ She was an inspiring mentor who became the role model for her students including Vivienne Malone Meyers and Etta Zuber Falconer, who also followed her footsteps and earned a Ph.D. in mathematics.

✦ She was bestowed with various awards and recognition from various educational bodies. She was given an honorary doctorate by Smith College in the year 1989, making her the first African-American woman to be honored in this manner by an American institution. Lincoln University also gave her an honorary degree. She is also among the first three African-American women to be honored by the National Academy of Science in the year 1999.
Marjorie Lee Browne (September 9, 1914 - October 19, 1979)
Marjorie Lee Browne is an inspiration, especially to the African-American women in mathematical studies. She was among the first few women to graduate, and later on earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. She did her B.S. in Mathematics in 1935, from Howard University, followed by her M.S. in Mathematics in 1939, from the University of Michigan. After completing her Ph.D. in 1949 from the University of Michigan, she taught in the North Carolina Central University (NCCU) all her life.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ She was the third African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. Her dissertation was on Studies of One Parameter Subgroups of Certain Topological and Matrix Groups.

✦ She was the first one to realize the importance of computers in the advancement of her field. In 1969, she received a grant of $60,000 from IBM and pioneered the establishment of electronic digital computer centers in the NCCU, which was considered to be a minority university back then.

✦ She was also responsible for the establishment of the first Undergraduate Research Participation Program at NCCU, which was sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Being aware of the difficulties faced by minorities in the educational field, Dr. Browne made sure that she strengthened and increased the number of African-Americans in the field of mathematical sciences, especially females. The proof of her dedication is the fact that 9 of her students earned a Ph.D. in mathematics, sciences, or a related field.

✦ She was also one of the first few African-American women who were a part of the advisory panel of the National Science Foundation.

✦ She received various honors for her contribution to the field of mathematics. She was also active in granting scholarships and professional activities. She was the member of some of the prestigious organizations such as Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the American Mathematical Society (AMS).
Marjorie Lee Browne
Albert Turner Bharucha-Reid (November 13, 1927 - February 26, 1985)
Born as Albert Turner Reid, he added the surname "Bharucha" to his name after his marriage to an Indian woman named Rodab Phiroze Bharucha. This mathematics genius published his first paper on mathematical biology at the tender age of 18. In 1949, he completed his BS from the Iowa State University, in mathematics and biology. Although, he pursued his studies at the University of Chicago, he never completed his Ph.D. because he considered it to be a waste of time. In spite of this, he held some important positions in the field which varied from being a research assistant to instructor to assistant professor to associate professor to the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University! He wrote various papers and books that were a major contribution, not only in the field of mathematics, but also in areas like physics, biology, economics, and engineering.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ Within the years 1951-1996, he published over 70 papers, and was also the author of many books. His first book was published in 1960, and over 6 books were published by him in subjects including algebra, mathematical biology, topology, analysis, and statistics.

✦ His interests lay in areas of Mathematical Biology, Probability, and Statistics. During his career, he was the adviser of at least 13 students pursuing their Ph.D. The National Association of Mathematicians has also named a lecture series in his honor.
Clarence Francis Stephens (July 24, 1917 - )
Losing his parents at a tender age of 8, and facing the racial discrimination, which was very evident at the time, Stephens overcame all these hurdles and became one of the most respectable mathematicians of all time. Throughout his career he believed that each and every college student could learn mathematics, and following this belief he changed his focus from becoming a research mathematician, into teaching mathematics to help impart the knowledge of the subject to those who sought. He attended the Harbinger Institute (a boarding school) in South Carolina. After receiving his M.S., he received his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1943, both from the University of Michigan.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ He is the ninth African-American to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics, in 1943. He earned his degree from the University of Michigan with a dissertation on nonlinear difference equations.

✦ He is known for his encouragement and contribution towards the formulation of one of the most successful undergraduate mathematics degree programs in the country, while he was at the State University of New York (SUNY) Potsdam. This program was counted among the top producers of majors in mathematics in the United States of America. Dr. Stephens' teaching model known as the Morgan-Potsdam Model was also adopted by various mathematics departments throughout the United States. Dr. Stephens also received the Mathematical Association of America Gung-Hu Award for this model.

✦ Dr. Stephens also made an inspiring record in the country. It was only under his guidance that Morgan State University became the very first institution in America to have three African-American students in the same graduating class (class of 1964), who later on received a Ph.D. in mathematics. These were Dr. Arthur Grainger, Dr. Earl Barnes, and Dr. Scott Williams.

✦ He has received various honors for his excellent contribution in the development and teaching of mathematics. The SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching was given to him in the year 1976-77. Also, for his distinguished service to Education, he was honored twice, once in 1962 by Governor J. Millard Tawes of Maryland, and in 1987 by Governor Mario Cuomo of New York.
He has also received three honorary doctorates from the following Universities: In 1954 from Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), in 1990 from the Chicago University, and in 1996 from SUNY.
Charles Lewis Reason (July 21, 1818 - August 16, 1893)
This gifted mathematician was a child prodigy who hit the news headlines in 1832 when he became an instructor at the African Free School -- where he studied -- at a young age of 14. He wanted to enter the ministry but was rejected due to his race. Later on, he realized that education was the best means to achieve black advancement and therefore, he decided to pursue his career in teaching. After being a part of various successful ventures in teaching, a majority of his life was spent in New York where he dedicated 37 years of his life as a teacher and administrator. He was also very active in politics and worked unceasingly towards various causes which included the improvement of black civil rights and antislavery. He was also a writer. His poem Freedom was published in 1849, in Alexander Crummell's biography of Clarkson.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ He is also the co-founder of the Society for the Promotion of Education among Colored Children, in 1947. This was a black organization established to promote education among "colored" children who had to face racial discrimination elsewhere. Under the leadership of Dr. Reason, this school became -- as quoted by Frederick Douglass in the North Star of May 11, 1849 -- "a rigorous refutation of the calumnies of John C. Calhoun about the potentials of free blacks".

✦ In 1849, he became the first African-American to be appointed as a professor in the New York Central College, McGrawville, which is a predominantly white college in the United States.

✦ In 1852, he was appointed as the principal of the Quaker Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia (which was later named Cheyney University). It is said that it was Reason's leadership that within his tenure of 4 years, he increased the enrollment from 6 students in 1852, to a 118 in the year 1855.
William A. Massey (1956 - )
William A. Massey did his schooling from the public schools of St. Louis, Missouri. He completed his Ph.D. degree in mathematics from Stanford University in the year 1981. His thesis was on Non-Stationary Queues. He won various awards and scholarships as a student. As soon as he completed his doctorate, he joined the Mathematical Sciences Research Center at Bell Laboratories. After a lucrative career at Bell Labs, he accepted the position of Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton, and has been working there since 2001.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ He is the co-founder of the Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences (CAARMS), and takes the onus of co-organizing all of CAARMS conferences. He has also founded the Council for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences. He also encouraged several minority students to work with him as summer employees at Bell Labs. He has also published papers that are co-authored with these students.

✦ His expertise on the Queueing Theory and his other research interests -- Applied Probability, Stochastic Processes, Performance Modelling of Telecommunication System, and Special Functions -- has made him a well-known figure in the field of mathematics.

✦ He is the first African-American Princeton undergraduate to return to the institution as a faculty member. In 2012, he also became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

✦ He was given the National Association of Mathematicians Distinguished Service Award in 1996, and was invited to give the William W. S. Claytor Lecture. He has been honored with the Blackwell-Tapia Prize of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications in 2006, for an "outstanding record of achievement in mathematical research and his mentioning of minorities and women in the field of mathematics."
Charles Bernard Bell, Jr. (August 20, 1928 - October 26, 2010)
This world-class mathematician did his B.S. in mathematics and statistics in 1947 from Xavier University in New Orleans. The following year he earned his M.S. degree, and eventually completed his Ph.D. in 1953, both from the University of Notre Dame. He worked in various esteemed educational institutions throughout his career, both within and outside the United States. He was very fond of learning languages and therefore, he learned the language of each country where he resided during his lifetime. He was also very fond of the dish "gumbo".
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ He was the first African-American who earned both his masters and doctorate from the Notre Dame University. Also, he was the second African-American to be appointed as a professor at the San Diego State University.

✦ He was an expert in areas including nonparametric statistics, stochastic processes and related problems and applications, biostatistics and signal detection. In his 41-year-long prolific career, he published approximately 40 publications. He devoted his life towards teaching mathematics and statistics, and researching in topics he enjoyed exploring.

✦ He loved traveling, and had worked in various countries in his lifetime. He also worked with African mathematicians in Marsabit, Kenya, in 1968. The following year he worked towards the development of mathematics courses for the teachers in Nigeria. He also conducted a workshop at Tulane, in the year 1975, to help black undergraduates.

✦ He has received various awards and honors for his contribution in the field of mathematics. Some of them include - elected a fellow in the American Statistics Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.
Etta Zuber Falconer (November 21, 1933 - September 19, 2002)
She was another woman mathematician, who through her determination and strength, conveyed to fellow women that they too can learn and teach a subject such as mathematics. This mathematician and educator joined the Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee when she was 15, and graduated with the honor summa cum laude, majoring in mathematics. She completed her Master's degree in Science from the University of Wisconsin, however, due to what she describes as a "culture shock", she didn't pursue her doctorate in Wisconsin and returned to Mississippi where she entered the field of teaching. She earned her Ph.D. degree in mathematics from the Emory University. All her life she worked towards the development of the African-American women who wished to excel in the field of mathematics. She initiated various programs during her long career at the Spelman College, and also received various honors for her work.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ She was the eleventh African-American woman to have earned a doctorate in mathematics. She received her degree in 1969 at the Emory University. Her dissertation was on Abstract Algebra.

✦ While she was at the Spelman College, she directed various unique programs, which included the NASA Women in Science and Engineering Scholars program . She also co-founded the National Association of Mathematicians, an organization that works towards the welfare of African-American students and mathematicians.

✦ She has won various awards in recognition of her work, including the Spelman College Presidential Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1994; the Louise Hay Award for her outstanding achievements in mathematics education, given by the Association for Women in Mathematics in the year 1995; the Lifetime Mentor Award in 2001, given by the American Association for Advancement in Science, to name a few.
Augustin Banyaga (March 31, 1947 - )
He is a Rwandan-born American mathematician and is currently working as a mathematics professor at the Pennsylvania State University. He completed his B.S. in 1971, and MS in 1972, from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He earned his Ph.D. in 1976 from the University of Geneva, under the guidance of André Haefliger.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ His contributions mainly lie in the subjects including Contact Geometry, Symplectic, and Topology. His research in the past focused on the structure of classical diffeomorphism groups. His later research focused on Locally Conformal Symplectic Geometry and Morse-Bott-Floer Homology.

✦ He is the editor of the African Journal of Mathematics and Afrika Matematica, which is the journal of the African Mathematical Union. He has supervised 7 Ph.D. students during their dissertation.
Lee Vernon Stiff (1949 - )
Another among the list of well-known black mathematicians is Dr. Stiff who has been teaching mathematics since 1971. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1971. In 1974, he earned his master's degree from Duke University, and four years later, in 1978, he received his Ph.D. in mathematics education from the North Carolina State University. His teaching methods emphasize on using instructional technologies, while his research methodologies consist of approaches like classroom-based investigations, surveys, interviews, and experimental design. He has been, and continues to be an active part of various professional organizations related to mathematics.
Achievements in the Field of Mathematics
✦ He has received various awards and honors for his contribution in mathematics education, including - The W.W. Rankin Memorial Award for Excellence in Mathematics Education and the Reginald V. Blackmon Award for Excellence in Teaching.

✦ He has authored and co-authored for more than 100 publications. These also consist of textbooks for middle grades and high school mathematics, chapter books, and a few professional books. He is also on the Editorial Boards of the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education and Mathematics Teacher, among the many other esteemed bodies in the field.

✦ As a researcher, he focuses on the formulation of highly effective teaching strategies, the development of mathematics education for African-American children, using technology towards teaching mathematics, and problem solving.

✦ He has also been among the board of directors of prestigious organizations like the Benjamin Banneker Association, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCCTM). He has also served as the president of NCTM in the past.
This was an overview of some of the famous African-American mathematicians. They have revolutionized present-day mathematics through their work and become a role model for many who wish to excel in the complicated-yet-addictive subject like mathematics.