, 14 tweets, 10 min read Read on Twitter
For #PiDay + #WomensHistoryMonth, I honor an eminent, glass-ceiling-breaking mathematician, Dr. Loretta Marion Murray Braxton. In the 1950’s, her 1st math prof in college in VA told her that she was in the wrong classes, b/c "only boys took higher-level math classes."1/14
Undeterred, Loretta Braxton won an NSF to do an MS in math in a top program at the University of Illinois, obtained a doctorate, and taught the 1st African American who formed a billion-dollar company, Reginald Lewis. #PiDay #Fearless 2/N
As a math teacher, professor, and 15 years as chair of the math department at @VSUTrojans, Loretta Braxton mentored several generations of math students, many of whom became teachers + college or university professors themselves. #BlackAndSTEM 3/14
Loretta Braxton was the 1st female chair and only woman in the math department for much of her 35-year career at Virginia State University. As the daughter of a tobacco factory worker from the Jim Crow South, these were no mean feats. #WomensHistoryMonth 4/14
Dr. Braxton promoted math + #STEM during her career. Her mantra was, “Don’t hide behind the math.” Maintaining rigor + making math accessible weren't mutually exclusive. At @VSUTrojans, she led campus summer programs, like @UpwardBound for 1st-gen students. #BlackAndSTEM 5/14
In 1959, Prince Edward County (VA) closed black schools for 6 years rather than desegregate. When she moved to Petersburg in '62, she stepped in + taught the students math so they wouldn't fall behind. Volunteer...3 yrs...1000s of children...beyond her day job! #MuchRespect 6/14
Loretta Braxton knew early on that r > g and made active investment in the stock market a hobby. Keenly aware of the #RacialWealthGap, she was passionate about teaching others investment strategy and was president of the Southside Women’s Investment Club. 7/14
Members of @dstinc1913, you might own or know about something Dr. Braxton helped to create. In the 1970's, she was the member of the National Delta commission to give the iconic Delta symbol the name “Fortitude.” The Fortitude statue is at Howard University. #Delta 8/14
She pledged @BE_Deltas at @VAUnion1865 in 1952. She served as President of the Petersburg Alumnae Chapter of #DST and mentored 14th South Atlantic Regional Director Yvette Robinson when she served as her VP. 9/14
Fun Fact: Dr. Loretta Braxton ran against @RepMarciaFudge for national office in #Delta. She lost to her, because Congresswoman Fudge was literally passing out fudge. She knew a clever campaign when she saw one! 10/14
Loretta Braxton was married for 57 years to her college sweetheart, Rev. Dr. Harold E. Braxton, who was also a professor and Dean of the Chapel at Virginia State University. They met during freshman orientation at Virginia Union and were inseparable until his death in 2015. 11/14
At her retirement facility, she played all the games and puzzles. They were math word problems (many related to economics) that were supposed to be memory-augmenting. As an old-school math whiz into her senior years, she won most of the prizes! #PlayersGonnaPlay 12/14
Dr. Loretta Braxton was my aunt and passed away a few days ago. While my family and I mourn her loss, we are grateful for her memory, the many lives she touched, and the contributions she made while here on earth. 13/14
We are grateful to her medical team at @VCU, her caregivers, and her extended + Gillfield Baptist Church family. I would only hope to be 1/2 the friend, partner, baker, auntie, scholar, mentor, public servant + trailblazer she was. Rest in peace and power, Loretta Braxton. 14/14
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