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Lucien Hibbert: Mathematician and Statesman

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Lucien Hibbert:
LouisBeaugris In his native land of Haiti, some recognize the name
Lucien Hibbert in that of Collège Lucien Hibbert,
a high school in Port-au-Prince, the capital city.
Although Lucien Hibbert lived an extraordinary life
as an academic, a mathematician, and a political gure,
his story is not well known. Hibbert is one of the rst
mathematicians of the African diaspora, having earned
his doctorate in France twelve years after Elbert Frank
Cox, the rst African-American [15] and “the rst Black in
the world to earn a PhD in mathematics” [59, p.588]. His
achievements in mathematics, econometrics, and govern-
ment are not generally known.
There are a few, scattered, published sources on Hib-
bert’s political and academic life. His accomplishments
were briey summarized in his obituaries as well as in later
reports on political mathematicians [25] and education in
Haiti [14]. A search on yields a list of his pub-
lications in the late 1930s and early 1940s. This includes
his dissertation, published in the Bulletin de la Société
Mathématique de France. Juliette Leloup [30] gives a review
of his thesis, while Guido Erreygers and Albert Jolink [17]
describe Hibbert’s article on econometrics.
This article aims to provide a more complete biography
detailing Hibbert’s academic career and his mathematical
and political achievements. The following section recounts
his family roots, his early education, and the beginning of
his political career. The subsequent sections report on his
life in Paris during the time of his dissertation and his schol-
arship shortly thereafter; his thesis, his article on econo-
metrics, and his publications while in France; and nally,
Hibbert’s work in government and in higher education
administration following his return to Haiti in the 1940s.
Lineage andBeginnings
Fernand Hibbert and his wife, Marie Hibbert (née Pescaye),
welcomed their newborn son Lucien into the world in Port-
au-Prince, Haiti, on August 18, 1899. Born in Miragoâne,
Haiti, Fernand Hibbert was of the multiethnic segment of
the Haitian population comprising mostly people of mixed
European and African ancestry. Fernand was a prolic nov-
elist, often cited as one of the creators and “one of the mas-
ters of the Haitian novel.” Lucien Hibbert’s grandfather,
Cadieu Hibbert, was a senator of the Republic of Haiti.
Haiti, then called Saint-Domingue, was colonized by the
French in the mid-seventeenth century and “at its height
in the 1780s had become the single richest and most pro-
ductive colony in the world” [39, p.63]. Haiti proclaimed
its independence in 1804 and became the rst independent
l’un des maîtres du “roman national” [6, p.109].
Years Ago Edited by Jemma Lorenat
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that take us back in time. Whether addressing special topics
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Full-text available
About four years ago I came across the Mathema-ticians of the African Diaspora website and dis-covered that the first Black in the world to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics was from my neighborhood in Evansville, Indiana. While growing up, no one talked to me about Elbert Frank Cox, who is the first Black in the world to earn a Ph.D. in mathemat-ics. After stumbling upon Elbert, excitement came over me and then I became curious about who he was and what motivated him to be successful in mathematics. In 2001 I became the second African American from Evansville to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. Thus, I felt a personal responsibility and an ob-ligation to give Evansville and the world an op-portunity to thank Elbert for his accomplishments as they opened doors for me and many other mathematicians. In 1895 Elbert Frank Cox was born to Johnson and Eugenia Cox at 715 Oak Street in Evansville, Indiana (which is located less than one mile from where I grew up). Elbert's father, Johnson D. Cox, was principal and teacher for over forty years at Third Avenue School. In those days the Evansville schools were segregated and Third Avenue School was an elementary school for African Americans.
Ce travail examine la formation de l’identite nationale de l’elite haitienne au cours du dix-neuvieme siecle. Il porte sur l’appropriation de l’ecriture de l’histoire par les classes dominantes et l’usage qu’elles en font pour maintenir le modele de civilisation et de culture francaises plus d’un siecle apres la guerre d’independance contre la France. Le manuel histoire d’Haiti de J.C. Dorsainvil (1924) est encore utilise par les petits Haitiens entre l’âge de sept a quatorze ans et possede les caracteristiques d’une vraie histoire « nationale » : insistance sur l’unite nationale, batailles de liberation en epopee, louange aux peres fondateurs, etc. Ce manuel est analyse comme elements importants dans la formation et la transmission de l’identite nationale et de memoire collective de l’elite. La demonstration consiste a reveler les divers moyens – a part la langue francaise – par lesquels la culture francaise est appropriee et exprimee par l’elite. On a cherche en meme temps a determiner comment les neuf-dixieme de la population – consistant en des masses rurales pratiquant le vaudou et parlant seulement le creole – sont integres dans cette definition d’Haitiens de culture francaise.