Euphemia Lofton Haynes- Black History Month

Euphemia Lofton Haynes

Euphemia Lofton Haynes became the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1943. She was the first woman to chair the DC School Board, and was central to the integration of the DC public schools.


After graduating from M St. High School in 1907 and Miner Normal School in 1909, Haynes went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Smith College. Haynes received a master’s degree in education from the University of Chicago, and soon after, founded the math department at Miner Teachers College. She earned a Ph.D. degree in mathematics—making her the first black woman to do so—from the Catholic University of America.


Haynes taught mathematics at Armstrong High School, served as an English teacher at Miner Normal School and taught math as chair of the department at Dunbar High School. She also served as chair of the Division of Mathematics and Business Education at District of Columbia Teachers College.After retiring from the public school system, Haynes served as president of the Washington, D.C. Board of Education from 1960 to 1968. She was the first African American woman to hold this position.

Along with being an incredibly gifted mathematics teacher, Haynes was also very vocal about equal education opportunities, as well as the US segregation policies that prevent such opportunities. During her time on the board, she also supported a lawsuit to desegregate the school system.