Below is a letter from Johnny L. Houston, NAM Historian for many years, along with five documents that reveal the origin and history of NAM. The letter was written August 2023.
I plan to retire from NAM's Board of Directors at the end of January 2024, after having served on NAM's Board of Directors for 50 years. It was my good fortunate to be one of NAM's Leading Founders in 1969 and on the Board of Directors the first year, NAM's First Active Executive Secretary for 25 years (1975 - 2000), an ex-Officio Member of NAM's Board for 24 years (2000 - 2024) and NAM's Historian for 55 years. I have concluded that it is time for me to “PASS THE TORCH” to another generation.
However, I would be remiss, if I did not permit the current generation to know of the Giants of the past whose shoulders that the current generations of African American Mathematicians and Mathematics Educators stand. I have seen and have walked with most of these Giants of the past and I have recorded in the Annals of NAM's History things that I hope will inspire the current generation "To Be the Best that They can Be."
I say to this generation, "Continue to Carry NAM Forward."
My current view is similar to that of Sir Isaac Newton when he said in 1675 how important it is to know one's History:
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
– Sir Isaac Newton, 1675
When you think about it, education and history are permitting each generation to do what Sir Isaac Newton did. He said his advances in mathematics and science were possible because he learned all the discoveries of the great scientists and mathematicians that came before him. That means when we say “I’m studying math and science or reviewing History” that we are really saying is “I’m finding out everything that previous generations have already learned.”
“MAKE THE NEXT GENERATION AFTER YOU TO CONTINUE TO BE PROUD OF NAM’S HISTORY AND ARCHIVES.”