Happy Black History Month East Texas! This is one of my favorite times of the year because every year, we learn something new or learn about someone that has contributed our society. There's no doubt that East Texas has a lot of history makers of its own and this month, we'll do our best to highlight a few of those folks.

Dr. Evelyn Granville was one of the first African American women to receive a doctoral degree in mathematics.

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Born May 1, 1924 in Washington, D.C., Dr. Granville is actually the second black woman in U.S. history to receive a doctorate degree in mathematics. She received an undergraduate degree in mathematics and physics from Smith College in 1945 and she  received a doctoral degree in mathematics in 1949 from Yale University. From 1949 to 1950 she held a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University, and from 1950 to 1952 she was an associate professor of mathematics at Fisk University.

Dr. Granville Worked Alongside IBM and NASA

Credit: NASA/Unsplash
Credit: NASA/Unsplash
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In 1952 Dr. Granville became a mathematician at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in Washington, D.C., where she worked on missile fuses. There she became interested in the new field of computer programming, which led her to IBM in 1956. Alongside a Washington team of IBM mathematicians and scientists, Dr. Granville assisted in formulating orbit computations and computer procedures for NASA’s Vanguard and Mercury projects. She left IBM in 1960 to move to Los Angeles, where she worked at the aerospace firm Space Technology Laboratories. There she did further work on satellite orbits. In 1962 she joined the aerospace firm North American Aviation, where she worked on celestial mechanics and trajectory calculations for the Apollo project. She returned to IBM to its Federal Systems Division in 1963 as senior mathematician.

She Returned To Teaching In 1967 Before Moving To Tyler

UT Tyler
UT Tyler
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Dr. Granville was as an assistant professor of mathematics at California State University, Los Angeles for many years teaching the mathematics course that was required for those who wished to become elementary school teachers. This led to an interest in mathematics education. In March of 1984, Dr. Granville retired to the Tyler area with her husband, Edward.

She Joined UT Tyler as a professor in 1990, teaching mathematics and computer science.

Dr. Granville would go on to teach at UT Tyler before retiring in 1997 and settling in nearby Corsicana, but she didn't stop her work there. Representing Dow Chemical Co. from 1998-99, Dr. Granville traveled to southeast and northeast Texas middle schools, encouraging students to pursue careers in mathematics.

“math skills involve logical and analytical thinking and there is hardly a career in which math skills are not needed.” - Dr. Evelyn Granville

We want to take a moment to say Thank You to Dr. Granville for her work and accomplishments and for showing us young Black kids that we can be so much more than "athletes and entertainers".

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