II Participation during 1965-1989

African-American mathematicians attended Southeastern Section meetings in the late 1960s but it took many years before they fully participated as speakers and organizers. For example, in 1966, Etta Falconer of Spelman College attended the meeting held at Emory University in Atlanta. She recalled that there was only one other African-American present, Dr. Joseph Dennis of Clark College, and that he was the only person who had anything to do with her at the meeting. (Etta Falconer went on to receive her doctorate from Emory in 1969, under the direction of Trevor Evans.)

During the early seventies a few African-American mathematicians, primarily from institutions in North Carolina, attended the section meetings. Professor David L. Hunter, who was chair of the Mathematics Department at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina, was one of the most active. He served as Vice-Chair of the Section during 1972-1974 and says, ``I thoroughly enjoyed my tenure with the Association. The Board members were very congenial and unstrained by having a minority member.'' As a consequence of Professor Hunter's involvement on the Section Executive Board, the 1976 Section meeting was held at Central Piedmont Community College.

By 1974, Dr. Wilbur Smith of North Carolina A&T University began a tradition of attending the Southeastern Section meetings. Dr. Falconer recalled that he was the only other African-American at the 1974 meeting in Knoxville and that his presence was very important to her. Comments from Professors Smith and Falconer on the atmosphere encountered by African-Americans at these meetings ranged from ``cordial'' to ``chilly; people did not speak ...I was essentially ignored'' However, through the 1970s few minorities appeared on the programs or were actively involved in the section. For example, Dr. Falconer was a member of the Nominating Committee and, later, the Site Selection Committee.

At the 1980 meeting at Appalachian State University, Dr. Sylvia Bozeman of Spelman College presented a paper, ``Finite rank modifications and generalized inverses of Fredholm operators.'' During the remainder of the 1980s, other African-Americans spoke at Southeastern Section meetings. Professors Bozeman and Falconer became a part of annual delegations of Spelman faculty and students at the meetings. And activities of mathematics departments of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the section began to appear regularly in the Section Newsletter.