Evelyn Granville
National Visionary

Born May 1, 1924 in Washington, DC

Mathematician, Educator

At the age of 25, Evelyn Granville became one of the first African-American women to earn a Doctorate in mathematics.  She went on to enjoy a distinguished career as a mathematician, scientist, computer programmer and teacher, overcoming obstacles she faced because of her race and gender.  Throughout her life, she has shared her passion and enthusiasm for her field through teaching, mentoring and public speaking. 

Born on May 1, 1924 in Washington, DC, Granville was brought up by her mother and aunt after her parents separated.  From an early age, Granville was a gifted student who aspired to be a teacher.  She received encouragement from both educators and family members to achieve academic success, and despite the segregated city in which she grew up, was surrounded by cultural resources and strong role models.  After graduating as valedictorian from Dunbar High School, she attended Smith College, one of only four African American students at the time.

Granville as a young woman

This interview has
been archived in the
NVLP Collection of
African American
Oral Histories at the
Library of Congress
American Folklife
In 1949 Granville earned her Ph.D. from Yale University.  Although she was the recipient of two Julius Rosenwald fellowships and a predoctoral fellowship with the Atomic Energy Commission, Granville faced an uphill battle to receive an academic position.  As a post-doctoral fellow at New York University, she applied for, but did not receive various teaching posts because of her race.  From 1950 to 1952, Granville taught math at Fisk University in Nashville, TN

Granville then returned to Washington DC to accept a position as a Mathematician with the National Bureau of Standards, where she first became interested in computer programming.  In 1956 she began working for the International Business Machines Corporation writing programs for the IBM 650 computer.  She also made important contributions to the emerging Space Program, first as a member of an IBM team that wrote orbit computations for NASA’s Vanguard and Mercury Programs, and later as a research specialist with the space and information systems division of the North American Aviation Company.   

Granville was also a gifted teacher.  She returned to academia in 1967 when she took a position with California State University in Los Angeles.  Because of her intense interest in mathematics education, in 1968 she participated in a Mathematics Improvement program, teaching at an elementary school in Los Angeles, and subsequently co-authored a book entitled Theory and Applications of Mathematics for Teachers that reflected her experiences.  She later taught at Texas College and the University of Texas in Tyler. 

Retired for a second time, Granville lives in East Texas with her husband, Edward V. Granville. 


Evelyn Granville's Wikipedia Page

David Blackwell's Visionary Page (Mathematician)

URL (Click to bookmark): http://www.visionaryproject.org/granvilleevelyn