Winter, 1995

This manuscript is a supplement to Threescore and Ten: A History of the Southeastern Section of The Mathematical Association of America, 1922-1992, distributed at the annual section meeting in April, 1992. The Section History gave details such as where meetings were held, who the officers were, and who the main speakers were during the years 1922-1992. It also included recollections of some members of the section who had been active over many years. This narrative does not contain an important story, that of the African-American members of the Section. As no history is ever complete, even this supplementary manuscript cannot tell the whole story for the time it covers, and certainly is not the end of the story. As we continue to gather information, the entire Section history will continue to grow and reflect the Section's size, diversity, and complexity.

After the publication and distribution in Spring 1992 of the history of the Section's first seventy years, several members recalled the exclusion of minority MAA members during most of those years and felt that the experiences of African-American mathematicians in the Southeast in the MAA should be told. This manuscript includes some of these stories from the past as well as a description of the efforts the Section is making today to move from exclusion to inclusion of all members and to erase the scars of former times. In recent years the Section has reached out to all mathematicians and mathematics educators, in order to be an organization that is not only welcoming but invitational. The story of the Southeastern Section--where we were, where we are today, and the efforts we are making which will affect where we will be--may inspire other sections to follow our lead.

The Section has seen big changes and has moved to recognize the diversity of our members and their interests. In the past decade, the Southeastern Section has had female mathematicians in positions of Chair, Vice-Chair, Newsletter Editor, State Director, and Governor; many are firsts for the Section. Since 1988, the Section meeting has included a regional meeting of AMATYC (The American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges). Programs to encourage students have included TA Rush, which was started in 1989 to bring advanced undergraduates together with faculty from graduate degree granting institutions to talk about graduate study opportunities, and a pizza lunch for students and their MAA Student Chapters since 1992. It is the 1990s that have seen the real change in participation of African-Americans. A regional meeting of NAM (National Association of Mathematicians) was included in the 1992 program, with the hopes that this would become a regular feature. The nineties have seen African-American mathematicians among the major invited speakers at the annual meetings, as well as among the Section officers and committee members, and also the establishment of the section Committee on Minority Participation. These activities are further described in this document.

The glue that binds the members of the MAA is interest in mathematics and the teaching of mathematics. All who share that interest should feel a part of this organization. There cannot be any other considerations for membership and for full participation. As mathematicians, we would like to think that we are above discrimination, that all we value is that someone shares our love of mathematics. That has not always been the case and it might not be today. But it is the ideal for which we strive. We hope that the meetings of the past few years have crated an environment in which all mathematicians and mathematics educators in the five-state region feel part of the Section, and at the meetings all members find an atmosphere of belonging.

The road to reach these goals is still being traveled. We start by recognizing the incidents of the past. Today the Section members are working together to create a welcoming atmosphere in an inclusive organization. And lastly, we look to the future of a diverse and representative organization dedicated to serving the needs of all mathematicians and mathematics educators. We invite all who share the vision to join us in seeking this ideal.

Tina Straley, Chair-elect