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“To be young, gifted and black”; a common phrase used in the Black community. It comes from a song famously sung by Ms. Nina Simone and co-written by Weldon Irvine. To me, the first few lines of the song always felt like a love song written to those of us in the Black community:

To be young, gifted and black,
Oh what a lovely precious dream
To be young, gifted and black,
Open your heart to what I mean.

Recently this song has made headlines again as Chadwick Bozeman quoted the title of the song in his acceptance speech at the SAG awards for the film Black Panther’s win of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. When asked “Did you know this film would have the impact that it has had?”, Bozeman replied “To be young, gifted and Black. We all know what it’s like to be told there’s not a screen for you to be featured on, there’s not a stage for you to be featured on. We know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with every day, because we knew, not that we would be around during awards season, and that it would make a billion dollars, but we knew we had something special that we wanted to give the world.”

In December 2016, Erica Graham, Raegan Higgins, Shelby Wilson and I had a conference call discussing the creation of a website that would highlight the contributions and lives of Black mathematicians. Inspired by the work of Lathisms and emboldened by the film Hidden Figures, we created the website “Mathematically Gifted and Black”. The name not only pays homage to the song so well known and loved within the Black community but is itself a tribute to those whose story may never have been told.

We are excited to spotlight 28 Black Mathematicians this February and to share their stories with you. You may see familiar or unknown faces, and we hope you learn something new.

 

Connect With Us

We are the Network of Minorities in Mathematical Sciences.
Feel free to contact us with your comments, questions, and suggestions for the website.
We can be contacted at The.Network.Of.MIMS@gmail.com.

 

MGB Founders at EDGE 2019

 

Erica Graham

Department of Mathematics
Bryn Mawr College

ejgraham@brynmawr.edu
Website

Raegan Higgins

Department of Mathematics
Texas Tech University

raegan.higgins@ttu.edu
Website

Candice Price

Department of Mathematics
Smith College

cprice@smith.edu
Website

Shelby Wilson

Department of Biology
University of Maryland

snwilson@umd.edu
Website