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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Stories of African-American STEM Societies: Part 2 — From Psychologists to Mathematicians | Absolutely Maybe - PLoS Blogs

After the slow first wave of African-American STEM societies from 1895 to 1947 (part 1), a new wave swept in at the end of the 1960s. So there have been a few golden jubilees, and more coming, inform Hilda Bastian, Absolutely Maybe - PLoS Blogs.
At the Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences (CAARMS) in Berkeley, 1995
Lenore Blum, via Wikimedia Commons
The new organizations in the ’60s and early ’70s were fueled by the energy of the Black Power, student, and civil rights movements in a tumultuous time for society and universities. The organizations they created, in turn, empowered them, changing their professions, and sometimes challenging knowledge and how their disciplines work in profound ways as well...

10. Mathematicians 
African-American mathematicians had long struggled to participate in national mathematical meetings. Even when William S. Claytor gave an address to the American Mathematical Society (AMS), he was not allowed to stay at the hotel. And that was still going on into the ’60s. [PDF] Walter R. Talbot put it this way:
When I entered the college teaching scene, it was 1934… It was 35 years later before I had a chance to start existing in the national activities of the mathematical bodies.

He also said:
Nowadays our promising youth are even more menacingly threatened by exposure to teachers who have not only been vigorously and successfully indoctrinated relative to the difficulty of mathematics, but also have been convinced to their viscera that Blacks, however successful in sports, music, politics, law, medicine, and so on and so on, are abysmally and irrevocably hopeless as far as mathematics is concerned.
Talbot organized and got funding for the meetings to form an African-American mathematical society. [PDF] In 1969, 17 gathered at the annual national mathematical meeting and formed the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM).
Read more... 

Additional resources
Robert F. Boyd, from his 1902 paper “”What are the causes of the great mortality among the Negroes in the cities of the South, and how is that mortality to be lessened?”
Photo: via Project Gutenberg

Stories of African-American STEM Societies: Part 1 — The First Wave (1895 to 1947) by Hilda Bastian, Absolutely Maybe - PLoS Blogs.

Source: PLoS Blogs