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Wed, 09.09.1914

Marjorie Browne, mathematics teacher and mentor

Marjorie Browne

On this date in 1914, Marjorie Lee Browne was born. She was a Black mathematician and professor.

Born in Memphis, TN., her father was a railway postal clerk and her mother died before she was two years old. Because her father had taken two years of college, excelling in arithmetic, he passed on his love for math to mathematical concepts to her.

After attending public schools, Browne was sent to LeMoyne High School (a private school) and then attended Howard University. While in high school, Browne won the Memphis city singles tennis championship and, while at Howard, she sang in the Howard University choir.  In 1935, she graduated cum laude.  She taught for a while at Gilbert Academy in New Orleans and received her M.A. from the University of Michigan in 1939.  She joined the faculty of Wiley College in Marshall, TX., where she began her work on her doctorate in mathematics, which she obtained in 1949.

Browne then taught at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) until 1979, and for 25 years was the only person in the department with a Ph.D. in mathematics.  She was a busy while teaching, writing proposals for equipment, and obtaining grants for scholarships from IBM, Shell, and other corporations for NCCU.  The Ford Foundation awarded her a fellowship to study combinational topology at Cambridge University in 195-1953. From 1958 to 1959, Browne was a National Science Foundation Faculty Fellow studying numerical analysis at UCLA.

In 1974, before retirement, she was the first recipient of the W.W. Rankin Memorial Award for Excellence in Mathematics Education. After retirement, she used her own money to provide financial aid to many gifted young people so they could pursue their educations. Marjorie Browne died on October 19, 1979.

Reference:
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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