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Jean Hamilton Walls

August 21

Jean Hamilton Walls was born on August 21 in 1885. She was an African American physicist and educator.

From Pittsburgh, she was the daughter of. Walls graduated from Allegheny High School in 1904 and majored in mathematics and physics at the University of Pittsburgh. She received a master’s degree at Howard University in 1912 and taught at the Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore; the Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, North Carolina; and the Fort Valley School in Georgia.

She returned to Pittsburgh to be executive director of the Centre Avenue branch of the Y.W.C.A. and then started work on her doctorate. Hamilton was the first Black woman to receive a bachelor’s degree (1910) from the University of Pittsburgh and was also the first to receive a Ph.D. (1938). Her dissertation was A Study of Seventy-Eight Negro Graduates of the University of Pittsburgh from 1920-1936.

Excluded from campus organizations by race, with the exception of the Y.W.C.A., Black women formed their own clubs. In 1922, the women formed the Council of Negro College Women (C.N.C.W) to foster intellectual growth, leadership, and friendship among black women at the University of Pittsburgh. The C.N.C.W. also worked to broaden the vocational options of college-educated black women. Their first event was The Vocational Conference for Colored Students.

Jean Hamilton Walls passed away in 1978

Attribution: https://aaregistry.org/story/jean-hamilton-walls-physicist-born/

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August 21
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