Edray Herber Goins, Pomona College
Authors: Edray Goins and Dorina Mitrea
2022 AWM Research Symposium
Blackbird, Fly: The Legacy of Vivienne Malone-Mayes and African-American Women within AWM

Vivienne Malone-Mayes, the fifth African American woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics, wrote an article in November-December 1988 AWM Newsletter where she outlined the history of Black women with PhDs, and contrasts the successes of White women in math with the struggles of Black women. Indeed, Malone-Mayes was a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin in the late 1950s, a time when blacks could not be teaching assistants nor join their classmates for discussion at segregated cafes, and a location where topologist Robert L. Moore did his best to impede her success. “I can personally vouch”, Malone-Mayes later wrote of this experience, "that my personal isolation … was absolute and complete." Eventually, Malone-Mayes would graduate with a doctorate in mathematics, become the first African-American faculty member at Baylor University, and then serve as the first African-American on the AWM Executive Committee. In this talk, we focus on the remarkable life and legacy of Vivienne Malone-Mayes.

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