Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes,
first african american woman mathematican

Born: 1890; Died July 25, 1980

place: Washington, D.C.

BA Smith College (1914); MA education, University of Chicago

Ph.D. (Mathematics) Catholic University, 1943
thesis: Determination of Sets of Independent Conditions Characterizing Certain Special Cases of Symmetric Correspondences, advisor: Aubrey Landry

In 1943, Euphemia Lofton Haynes earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C., thus becoming the first African American Woman Ph. D. in Mathematics.

Born Martha Euphemia Lofton, Euphremia (she rarely used Martha) was a fourth generation Washingtonian, her father was Dr. William S. Lofton, a prominent Black D.C. dentist and financier of Black businesses in the area. Her mother, Lavinia Day Lofton, was active in the Catholic church as later was Euphemia. She graduated high school from Washington's Miner Normal School in 1909. Four years later, she received a B.A. in Mathematics (minor in Psychology). In 1917, she married Harold Appo Haynes who later became a principal and deputy superintendent in charge of Washington's "colored schools" (the schools for African Americans).

In 1930, Haynes received a masters degree in education from the University of Chicago, where she also did further graduate study in mathematics. She earned a doctorate degree in mathematics from Catholic University of America (CUA) in 1943, becoming the first black woman to receive a Ph.D. degree in mathematics. The title of her dissertation was "The Determination of Sets of Independent Conditions Characterizing Certain Special Cases of Symmetric Correspondences;" Dr. Aubrey Landrey was her dissertation advisor and Drs. Otto J. Ramler and J. Nelson Rice were members of her doctoral committee.

Dr. Euphemia Haynes had a distinguished career in Washington. She taught in the public schools of Washington, DC for forty-seven years and was the first woman to chair the DC School Board. She was a teacher of first grade at Garrison and Garfield Schools; a teacher of mathematics at Armstrong High School, an English teacher at Miner Normal School; she taught mathematics and served as chair of the Mathematics Department at Dunbar High School; she was a professor of mathematics at Miner Teachers College (established the mathematics department) and at the District of Columbia Teachers College for which she also served as chair of the Division of Mathematics and Business Education. After her 1959 retirement from the public school system, he was head of the city's Board of Education, and was central to the integration of the DC public schools.

Dr. Haynes established the mathematics department at Miners Teacher's College she was a professor of mathematics. She taught at the District of Columbia Teachers College for which she also served as chair of the Division of Mathematics and Business Education. She occasionally taught part-time at Howard University.

Haynes was active in many community activities. She served as first vice president of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, chairman 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, as 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, and as a member of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Catholic Interracial Council of Washington, the Urban League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, League of Women Voters, and the American Association of University Women.

Euphemia Lofton Haynes was awarded the Papal Medal - Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from the Catholic Church in 1959.

Upon her death in 1980, she bequeathed $700,000 to Catholic University in a trust fund established to support a professorial chair and student loan fund in the School of Education. Thus, there is a scholarship fund and a education department chair named in honor of Dr. Euphemia Lofton Haynes at The Catholic University.

Regarding the chair in her honor, the following is from the CUA School of Education Newsletter for January 1981, page 1: "The School of Education (ED) recently received a gift of $700,000 in the form of a bequest from Euphemia L. Haynes, an alumna of the university and a prominent Washington educator, who died earlier this year. The gift was willed to the university in a trust fund Mrs. Haynes established for the the support of a professorial chair in ED."

Here's the obituary from the August 1, 1980 "Washington Post": there is a photo but we do not have it

"By Ken Feil -- The Washington Post

Dr. Euphemia Lofton Haynes, 90, a former D.C. board of education president and member and a Washington educator for nearly 50 years, died Thursday at the Washington Hospital Center. She had been hospitalized since suffering a stroke July 25.

Dr. Haynes served as school board president from July 1966 to July 1967. A fourth-generation Washingtonian, she was a product of the same school system that she later headed.

She served as a member of the old nine-member school board, then appointed by judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, for seven years before becoming its president.

During that time she was an active and outspoken critic of the school system's de facto structure of segregation and its "track system," which placed students in academic or vocational programs depending on ability.

The track system, which had structured the city's schools for a number of years and which was said to discriminate against black and poor students, was abolished along with de facto segregation by Judge J. Skelly Wright in June 1967, when Mrs. Haynes was board president.

Mrs. Haynes had favored black civil rights leader Julius W. Hobson's suit, charging the school system with racial and economic discrimination, which led to Judge Wright's decision.

She also was school board president when the machinery for an election to establish collective bargaining rights for public school teachers was set up in March 1967. She left the board in 1968 when the city's first elected school board took office.

Mrs. Haynes graduated from Smith College in 1914. She earned a master's degree in education from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in mathematics from Catholic University.

She taught mathematics in Washington high schools and, in 1930, established a mathematics department at old Miners Teachers College here. She was professor and chairman of the department when she retired in 1959.

After retiring, Mrs. Haynes became active in Catholic organizations. She was president of the Washington Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women from 1964 to 1966. She also served on the board of Catholic Charities and as member of the D.C. branch of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

In 1959, she received the Papal medal, "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifex" for her service to the church and her community.

Her husband, Dr. Harold A. Haynes, a former deputy superintendent of the city's public schools, died two years ago. Mrs. Haynes leaves no immediate survivors."

Personal papers of Catholic University of America alumna Euphemia Lofton Haynes, her husband Harold Appo Haynes, and their families. Held by CUA: Papers consist of correspondence, financial records, publications, speeches, reports, newspaper clippings, and photographs, and provide a record of her family, professional, and social life, including her involvement in education, civic affairs, real estate, and business matters in Washington."

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: We had help (8/23/2001) with this web page from Robert Fikes, Jr. of the San Diego State University. It was Fikes who first informed us (August 2001) of the existence of Euphemia Lofton Haynes. We also had help (9/4/2001) from William John Shepherd, Sr., Assistant Archivist -, The Catholic University of America

references: [ProQuest Digital Dissertations]; [Washington Post 08/01/1980];
Mary McLeod Bethune archives;
library CAU:; [Houston 2001]

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