28 Faces of Black Women – Euphemia Lofton Haynes

February marks the celebration of Black History month. As a sorority who believe in “Excellence Through Unity”, it is only fitting that we take the time to present some of the notable women in African-American History.

During the month of February  we will present a short biography on famous, inspiring, and world-changing African-American women throughout history.

Let us introduce you to Euphemia Lofton Haynes – the first African-American Female Mathematician.



In 1943, Euphemia Lofton Haynes earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C., becoming the first African-American Woman Ph. D. in Mathematics.

Haynes graduated high school from Washington’s Miner Normal School in 1909. Four years later, she received a B.A. in Mathematics (minor in Psychology). In 1917, she married Harold Appo Haynes who later became a principal and deputy superintendent in charge of Washington’s “colored schools”.

In 1930, Haynes received a master’s degree in education from the University of Chicago, where she also did further graduate study in mathematics. She earned a doctorate degree in mathematics from Catholic University of America (CUA) in 1943, becoming the first black woman to receive a Ph.D. degree in mathematics.

Dr. Euphemia Haynes had a distinguished career in Washington. She taught in the public schools of Washington, DC for forty-seven years and was the first woman to chair the DC School Board. She was a teacher of first grade at Garrison and Garfield Schools; a teacher of mathematics at Armstrong High School, an English teacher at Miner Normal School; she taught mathematics and served as chair of the Mathematics Department at Dunbar High School; she was a professor of mathematics at Miner Teachers College (established the mathematics department) and at the District of Columbia Teachers College for which she also served as chair of the Division of Mathematics and Business Education. After her 1959 retirement from the public school system, he was head of the city’s Board of Education, and was central to the integration of the DC public schools.

Dr. Haynes established the mathematics department at Miners Teacher’s College she was a professor of mathematics. She taught at the District of Columbia Teachers College for which she also served as chair of the Division of Mathematics and Business Education. She occasionally taught part-time at Howard University.

Haynes was active in many community activities. She served as first vice president of the Archdiocese Council of Catholic Women, chairman 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, as secretary and member of the Executive Committee of the DC Health and Welfare Council, on the local and national committees of the United Service Organization, and as a member of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Catholic Interracial Council of Washington, the Urban League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, League of Women Voters, and the American Association of University Women.

Euphemia Lofton Haynes was awarded the Papal Medal – Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from the Catholic Church in 1959.

Upon her death in 1980, she bequeathed $700,000 to Catholic University in a trust fund established to support a professorial chair and student loan fund in the School of Education. Thus, there is a scholarship fund and a education department chair named in honor of Dr. Euphemia Lofton Haynes at The Catholic University.