The Amistad Research Center is pleased to open the papers of mathematics educator, dean, specialist in teacher training programs, and public school administrator Raymond J. Pitts for research. With the assistance of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Raymond Pitts papers are one of fifteen archival collections to be processed as part of a two-year project highlighting the accomplishments of African Americans in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
Dr. Pitts began his career as a mathematics instructor. For eighteen years, he served on the faculty of Fort Valley State College. While there, his introduction of the first campus statistics laboratory and the first all-state science fair in Georgia, including his statewide studies of math education in Black high schools, contributed greatly to the success of the teacher training programs at the school. He moved to California in 1956 to work in the state's public educational system. Amistad’s collection highlights these California years, tracing Pitts’ career from a mathematics instructor to his work in various administrative positions.
Beyond mathematics, Dr. Pitts worked extensively advocating for disadvantaged students. In his position as Director of the Department of Intergroup Education for Pasadena schools, Pitts was responsible for fair racial integration and “full equality of education for all students.” In his work for the California State Department of Education and the San Francisco Unified School District, Pitts was also active in compensatory education for children at risk of cognitive impairment.
Some of the highlights of the papers include a series of teacher curriculum guides, each of which covers a specific subject, ranging from business to ethnic studies to mathematics. The audiovisual series also includes some interesting items. In recorded interviews with Dr. Aaron Brown, Pitts speaks with the educator about his education, career, work with the NAACP, and contributions to the education of African American students in Georgia during the era of segregation.
Images from the Raymond Pitts papers. Images from the Amistad’s website, newsletters, and blogs cannot be reproduced without permission.