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Sat, 02.01.1936

Azie Taylor Morton born

Azie T. Morton

*Azie Taylor Morton was born on this date in 1936. She was a Black teacher, politician, and cabinet member.

From the small but well-known community of St. John Colony in Dale, Texas, she was the daughter of Fleta Hazel Taylor.  Her mother was deaf and she did not know who her father was.  Her youth was spent on a farm in, near Austin; her first childhood work was in a cotton field.  Graduating from high school at 16 with an outstanding record, she enrolled at Huston-Tillotson in Austin.

In 1956, Taylor graduated with a bachelor of science in commercial education cum laude.  She applied for enrollment at the University of Texas for graduate school but was denied admission because of its policy of not enrolling “Negroes to its undergraduate programs.” Undisturbed, Taylor’s first job was as a teacher at a school for delinquent girls.  She went on to work on President Kennedy's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity.

She was a member of the American Delegation to Rome, Italy for the Enthronement of Pope John Paul II; Chair of a People to People Mission to the Soviet Union and China; an Election Observer for the Presidential elections in Haiti, Senegal, and the Dominican Republic; and she was a representative to the first African/African American Conference held in Africa.  She was passionate about public service and the need to give back to the community.  Taylor had the will to succeed, no matter the task, while remaining humble. She married James Homer Morton, on May 29, 1965. They had two daughters.

She was appointed to the office of Treasurer of the United States by President Carter in 1977.  Morton has the distinction of being the only Black to ever hold that post. As the 36th Treasurer of the United States she served from September 12, 1977, to January 20, 1981. Her husband died in January 2003.  Azie Taylor Morton died on December 7, 2003 in Austin of complications from a stroke.

Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York
ISBN 0-926019-61-9

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