September 29th in African American History – Sir William Arthur Lewis

Sir William Arthur Lewis

Sir William Arthur Lewis

September 29, 1979 Sir William Arthur Lewis became the first black person to win a Nobel Prize in a category other than peace.

Lewis was born January 23, 1915 in Saint Lucia. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in 1937 and Ph.D. in 1940 from the London School of Economics, he lectured at the University of Manchester until 1959 when he was appointed vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies. Key works by Lewis include “Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour” (1954) and “The Theory of Economic Growth” (1955).

Lewis was knighted in 1963 and served as a full professor in the Department of Economics at Princeton University from 1964 until his retirement in 1983. After his retirement, he became president of the American Economic Association. Lewis died on June 15, 1991 and was buried on the grounds of the Saint Lucian community college named in his honor. In 2007, the Arthur Lewis Building was opened at the University of Manchester in his honor.

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