Inspire the Next Gen of Black Mathematicians

The MAD (Mathematicians of the African Diaspora) Pages has inspired countless young Black mathematicians to pursue their dreams since its creation by Scott Williams in 1997. In 2020, we unveiled the updated MAD Pages, which contains the largest searchable database in the world of Black mathematical scientists. Help us develop the MAD Pages further to inspire the next generation of Black mathematicians by contributing to our GoFundMe today!

Thank you all for viewing this fundraising page. My name is Edray Goins and I am a professor of mathematics at Pomona College. For the past 5 years, I have been part of a team dedicated to updating, expanding, and promoting the MAD Pages. During this journey, I have witnessed dozens of students light up as they discover the many mathematicians who look like them. I have learned about the many research contributions that have come from Black mathematicians. And, I have grown closer with Scott Williams, the creator of the original MAD Pages, and joined in his vision for a culture that celebrates and uplifts Black excellence in the mathematical sciences.

Since joining the team in 2013, the MAD Pages have become my passion project as well, and I am firmly dedicated to preserving and uplifting the stories of Black mathematicians. I hope you will consider contributing to this fundraising effort, and sharing this page with friends and family.

We hope to reach our fundraising goal of $10,000 by May 15, 2021!

On behalf of the MAD Pages team, I am truly grateful for your support!

The Backstory

In 1997, Scott Williams (SUNY Buffalo) founded the website “Mathematicians of the African Diaspora,’’ more commonly known today as the MAD Pages. Williams built the site over the course of 11 years, creating over 1,000 pages by himself as a personal labor of love. The site features more than 700 African Americans in mathematics, computer science, and physics as a way to showcase the intellectual prowess of those from the Diaspora. 

Scott Williams.

Since its creation, the MAD Pages have received more than 20 million visitors, and provided immeasurable inspiration and validation to many Black mathematicians and students.

In 2008, Scott Williams retired, and passed the MAD Pages on to a new group of caretakers. This group committed to update the MAD Pages included: Don King (Northeastern University), Asamoah Nkwanta (Morgan State University), Terrence Blackman (Medgar Evers College), Ron Buckmire (Occidental College), Monica Jackson (American University), Talitha Washington (Clark Atlanta University), web developer John Weaver (Varsity Software), and myself. We were determined to preserve the legacy of the MAD Pages.

John Weaver, with Varsity Software, developed a platform to house the database, while dozens of students helped transfer and update the data from Williams’ old pages. During the Summer of 2020, I ran an NSF REU (DMS 1560394) focused on the history of Black mathematical scientists. These students updated the database, collectively wrote 50 new biographies, and discussed the impact of the database on their own academic journeys.

We proudly announced the updated MAD Pages  in October of 2020! This accomplishment was featured in MAA FOCUS, the newsmagazine of the Mathematical Association of America, the Center for Minorities in the Mathematical Sciencesblog, and in an AMS webinar.

The Impact

While the MAD Pages sadly does not have empirical evidence on the careers it has inspired and the connections it has given, we know that its impact is widespread.

The original website has achieved over 20 million views, and many of my Black friends and colleagues cite it as a key piece in their journey of becoming mathematicians. As Erica Walker writes in an AMS blog, “[t]he existence of this website helped to reframe for me and many others the truth of Black excellence in mathematics. It made visible people that were in many ways invisible to the canon of mathematical thought and production in the United States and around the world.”

Today’s updated MAD Pages features the largest searchable database of mathematical scientists of the African Diaspora in the world. 

I saw the impact of the database while working with students during the summer of 2020. As they combed through the data, one student was excited to find mathematicians who worked in their personal research interests. Another pieced together a network of Black mathematicians during the Civil Rights Movement. In an exit survey, one student noted “[i]t was really impactful to go through this program when so much was changing in the world. The resources and connections made were right on time.”

Many in the past have used the MAD pages to see themselves. As the database increases in functionality, students will be able to delve into the mathematical work of Black mathematicians, finding connections in mathematical interests and achievements. They will be able to search more precisely by identity, and previously hidden figures may more easily come into the light. As the MAD Pages develop, we plan to make it the ultimate repository for connecting to the past, learning from those who came before us, and empowering one another to write the next chapter.

The Costs

The development of the MAD Pages database has been generously supported by Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (CURM), the Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF), Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM), the National Science Foundation (DMS 1560394), Northeastern University, Pomona College, Temple University, and Washington & Lee University

However, in order for the database to increase its reach and deepen its impact, we need to raise $10,000. These funds will support our partnership with Varsity Software, a Black owned software company and longtime collaborator of the MAD Pages. Together, we plan to:

Showcase the published works of mathematical scientists of the African Diaspora. 
We will create an API to connect the MAD database with Mathematical Reviews (MR). Using this connection, the MAD database will be able to display up-to-date publications for each profile. Conversely, MR will add the functionality to search publications by the author’s race and ethnicity. We are in the process of adding author IDs supplied by MR to the MAD database in anticipation of the completion of this project, and we are currently in beta testing for the API.

Focus on intersectionality in mathematics.
We will create an API to connect with other databases, so users will be able to filter for mathematical scientists of the African Diaspora. We have been in contact with the following resources with the hopes of increasing our collective impact: the MacTutor archives, the Math Genealogy Project, and the Center for Minorities in the Mathematical Sciences database. Some of these resources severely lack representation of Black mathematical sciences, and we all could benefit from symbiotic infrastructure. We will develop APIs in each of these partnerships to lay the groundwork to easily interact with other databases, so that we can one day showcase Black LGBT+ mathematicians, Black mathematicians with disabilities, and more.

Expand the database.
We will use Paulus Gerdes's "African Doctorates in Mathematics" to enter a significant number of African mathematical scientists into the database. This resource, published in 2007, contains the names of over 2,000 mathematicians from Africa who have earned PhDs in the mathematical sciences. Adding these names to the database will double the size of the MAD database, and will augment the database’s global perspective. We have been working with Nira Chamberlain to coordinate this project.

Reach a broader audience.
On April 1, the MAD Pages launched its daily posting feature. You can check out the MathAD twitter  to see a new featured Black mathematician and their bio every day.

A daily tweet from @MathADPages.

How You Can Help

Your support will help this cherished resource of the mathematical community find its way to a young Black mathematician searching for inspiration. Together, we will highlight the accomplishments of the mathematical scientists of the African Diaspora of the past and present, to inspire those of the future.

Any contribution you make will go straight to the development of these impactful features.  We need $10,000 to build unique infrastructure and benefit other existing complete these projects. If we reach our goal, we will:

 - Connect to Mathematical Reviews by June, 2021
 - Develop APIs to collaborate with MacTutor archives, the Math Genealogy Project, and the Center for Minorities in the Mathematical Sciences database by the end of 2021
 - Add all 2,000+ names from Paulus Gerdes's "African Doctorates in Mathematics " to the MAD Database by June, 2022

We hope to reach our fundraising goal by May 15, 2021!

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Thank you all for your support of this project!!!

Donations (124)

  • Danielle Robbins-Chukwumah
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Ann Karagozian
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Donald King
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Kevin Shu
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Denise Boston
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs

Organiser and beneficiary

Edray Goins
Claremont, CA
Edray Herber Goins

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