Famous Black Mathematicians

Throughout history there have been many tremendous black mathematicians.

Although some of them have not received the same notoriety as the likes of Eisten and Newton, their contributions cannot be overlooked.

Below is a list and short biography of some of the most influential African American mathematicians. If we have overlooked somebody that you think should be included on this list, please contact us.

You can also view other famous math people here.


Benjamin Banneker


Date of Birth: November 9, 1731

Date of Death: October 9, 1806

Birthplace: Ellicott City, Maryland

Banneker contributed as an astronomer, surveryor, and almanac author, in addition to mathematics.

Benjamin Banneker  

Banneker's interest in mathematics began at an early age when he used his knowledge to build a clock that struck hourly. Later in life he took a strong interest in anstronomy, and was able to perform detailed calculations that predicted solar and lunar eclipses. He kept his information in a series of journals that also included additional advanced mathematical calculations.


Elbert Frank Cox


Date of Birth: December 5, 1895

Date of Death: November 28, 1969

Birthplace: Evansville, Indiana

Cox was a brilliant mathematician that became the first black person to earn a Ph.D in mathematics.

Elbert Frank Cox

Cox overcame many difficulties due to his race. However, his brilliance prevailed. Cox really shined as a teacher. Once he became a professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C. people gravitated to soad in his knowledge - particularly because of the ease in which he could explain advanced mathematical concepts in an easily understandable manner.  

David Harold Blackwell


Date of Birth: April 24, 1919

Date of Death: (none)

Birthplace: Centralia, Illinois

Blackwell is a brilliant statistician who is partly responsible for the Rao-Blackwell Theorem.

David Harold Blackwell  


Because of his strength in statistics, Blackwell became the first black mathematician to be inducted into the the National Academy of Sciences. He is also the first black tenured faculty member at University of California at Berkeley, where is he currently an esteemed professor of statistics.

Return from Black Mathematicians to other Famous Math People.

  To learn some of the mathematics that these brilliant mend have mastered, visit the GradeA homepage for plenty of free math help resources. Maybe you will be on a list of famous mathematicians some day.


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