Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes

Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes

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

Born Martha Euphemia Lofton, Euphremia (she rarely used Martha) was a fourth generation Washingtonian, her father was Dr. William S. Lofton, a prominent Black D.C. dentist and financier of Black businesses in the area. Her mother, Lavinia Day Lofton, was active in the Catholic church as later was Euphemia. She 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” (the schools for African Americans). 

In 1930, Haynes received a masters 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. The title of her dissertation was “The Determination of Sets of Independent Conditions Characterizing Certain Special Cases of Symmetric Correspondences;” Dr. Aubrey Landrey was her dissertation advisor and Drs. Otto J. Ramler and J. Nelson Rice were members of her doctoral committee.

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 Archdiocesan 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.