Evelyn Boyd Granville: Race, Space, & Education Advocacy
Growing up in Washington, D.C. during the Great Depression, Evelyne Boyd Granville perpetually saw her glass as half-full. “I was aware that segregation placed many limitations on Negros,” she wrote. “However, daily one came into contact with Negroes who had made a place for themselves in society…”
Granville’s daily contact with such role models began at Dunbar High School, where highly educated teachers (white and black) instilled a belief in Granville that, regardless of race and gender, all deserved access to knowledge. “We accepted education as the means to rise above the limitations that a prejudiced society endeavored to place upon us.”
Pinched pennies, financial aid, and academic scholarship made her continued education possible. Granville attended Smith College and then Yale for her Ph.D, becoming just the second African American women to receive a mathematics doctorate at any American University.
After a few years of teaching at Fisk University, an all-black college in Nashville, Granville began her professional career performing real-time’ calculations for satellite launchings. She studied rocket trajectories and methods of orbit computation as a part of the U.S. involvement in the space race. In 1967, Granville returned to the classroom, where she began an impressive 30-year commitment to education advocacy.
Next Up: Sister Mary Kenneth Keller (click here or below)