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Fri, 07.25.1890

Martha E. Lofton Haynes, Mathematician born

Euphemia L. Haynes

The birth of Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes, a Black mathematician and teacher in 1890, is celebrated on this date.

She was born in Washington, D.C. as Martha Euphemia Lofton, to Dr. William S. Lofton, a prominent Black dentist and investor in Black businesses and Lavinia Day Lofton, who was active in the Catholic Church. Euphemia (she rarely used Martha) graduated from Washington's Miner Normal School in 1909, and five years later, she received a B.A. in mathematics (with a minor in psychology) from Smith College.

In 1917, she married Harold A. Haynes, who later became a principal and deputy superintendent in charge of Washington's "colored schools".  In 1930, Haynes received her master’s degree in education from the University of Chicago, where she also did further graduate study in mathematics.  In 1943, Haynes earned her PhD.D. in mathematics at The Catholic University in Washington, becoming the first African American woman PhD. D. in mathematics.  The title of her dissertation was "The Determination of Sets of Independent Conditions Characterizing Certain Special Cases of Symmetric Correspondences."

Dr. Haynes had a great career in her hometown. She taught in the public schools of Washington, D.C., for 47 years and was the first woman to chair the D.C. School Board.  She taught first grade at Garrison and Garfield Schools, and mathematics at Armstrong High School. She was an English teacher at Miner Normal School; taught mathematics and served as chair of the Math Department at Dunbar High School. Haynes was a professor of mathematics at Miner Teachers College and at the District of Columbia Teachers College where she was chair of the Division of Mathematics and Business Education.

She retired in 1959 from the public school system, but went on to establish the mathematics department at Miners Teacher's College. She also occasionally taught part-time at Howard University.  Haynes was involved in many community activities. She served as first vice president of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, chair 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, secretary and member of the Executive Committee of the D.C. Health and Welfare Council, on the local and national committees of the United Service Organization, a member of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Catholic Interracial Council of Washington, the Urban League, NAACP, League of Women Voters, and the American Association of University Women.

Dr. Haynes was awarded the Papal Medal–Pro Ecclesia et Pontific from the Catholic Church in 1959. Euphemia Lofton Haynes died on July 25, 1980 in her hometown, Washington, D.C. She had set up a trust fund to support a professorial chair and student loan fund in the School of Education, giving $700,000 to Catholic University.
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