In the UK, some mathematical organisations lead by the excellent Chalkdust have declared October as Black Mathematician Month!
This is what Professor Fraser said
” I am very proud to say that I met the great David Blackwell while I was a Lecturer at Warwick. – see some other photos of Blackwell, at a colleague’s funeral, here: I suggested him for an Honorary Degree, which he was awarded, and I was privileged to talk to him when he came over to receive it. By that time, I already knew the now well-known story of the racism that he had encountered on route to being appointed a Professor of Statistics at University of Berkeley, which he confirmed. I first encountered that story when I read the biography of Jerzy Neyman, who founded the Berkeley Statistics Department, when I visited CORE and IRES, Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, in 1984-85.
There is another story relating to David Blackwell that I have that, I believe, reflects the importance of people knowing their own history. I first came across the eponymous Rao-Blackwell Theorem while studying for an MSc in Economics and Econometrics at Southampton in 1975-6. I had a fellow student, an Irish man (also now a Professor of Economics), who assured me that Blackwell was Irish! I never bothered to check this (why should I have bothered to check a fellow student’s word about something as inconsequential as someone’s nationality, or so I thought then?). So, for years, I happily went about in the belief that Blackwell was indeed Irish and assured others of this. I must have provided much amusement to those who knew otherwise, until I was finally disabused of my misinformation at CORE. There are many lessons in this story that others can, indubitably, fill in the details of.”
Apart from being slightly jealous, I am extremely proud that a member of my family had cross paths with one of the greatest Black mathematicians ever.