10 Brilliant Black Mathematicians Who Never Received the Praise They Deserved


Kelly Miller (July 18, 1863 – Dec. 29, 1939)

Miller was one of the forgotten intellectuals during the era of Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois. He was a mathematician, sociologist, essayist, newspaper columnist, author and an underrated figure in the Black intellectual community. Miller was nicknamed “The Bard of the Potomac” in his day. His parents were free Blacks living near Washington, D.C. In 1890, Miller became a professor at Howard University teaching mathematics. In 1895, he would go on to introduce sociology. Besides writing numerous columns on race in America, he also served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard.



Clarence F. Stephens (born July 24, 1917)

Stephens was the ninth African-American to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics in the U.S. While working at the State University of New York at Potsdam, Stephens helped to create one of the most successful undergraduate mathematics programs in the past century. Stephens’ education includes a bachelor’s in mathematics from Johnson C. Smith University in 1938. From 1939 to 1943, he attended the University of Michigan, where he earned a master’s and doctorate in mathematics.

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