- Sylvie Coulibaly
mathematician, sociologist, academic, essayist, and columnist. Miller was born a slave in Winnsboro, South Carolina, to Elizabeth Roberts, a slave, and Kelly Miller Sr., a free black who fought in the Confederate army. He grew up poor during Reconstruction, working with his sharecropper parents and eight siblings. In 1878 Miller enrolled at the Fairfield Institute in South Carolina, where he studied until 1880. An exceptional student, Miller went on to Howard University in 1882. He financed his undergraduate studies by working at the U.S. Pension Office in Washington, D.C., and graduated in 1886.
In 1886 Miller enrolled in the PhD program in mathematics at Johns Hopkins University, becoming the first African American to do so. Financial hardship prevented him from staying at Johns Hopkins, and he left the program in 1889 He then began teaching at M Street High School ...
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.