Phyllis Ann Wallace

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Phyllis A. Wallace (1921–1993) was a distinguished African American economist and activist, as well as the first woman to receive doctorate of economics at Yale University.[1] Her work tended to focus on racial, as well as gender discrimination in the workplace.[1]

Phyllis Ann Wallace
Born(1921-06-09)June 9, 1921
Calvert County, Maryland[2]
DiedJanuary 10, 1993(1993-01-10) (aged 71)
Boston, Massachusetts[2]
  • City College of New York
  • National Bureau of Economic Research
  • Atlanta University (1953-57)
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1965-69)
  • Metropolitan Applied Research Center (1969-72)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1972-86)
Alma mater
AwardsNational Economic Association's Westerfield Award (1981)

Early life[edit]

Phyllis was born Annie Rebecca Wallace in Calvert County, Maryland, on June 9, 1921 to John Wallace and Stevella Wallace.[2][3] She attended a well ranked yet segregated high school, Frederick Douglass High School. After graduating, she went on to attend New York University, receiving a bachelor's degree in economics in 1943.,[2] She later attended Yale University for graduate studies, earning a master's degree in 1944 and a PhD in 1948.[2] A mix of encouragement from her Yale economist professor and work at a federal-defense agency made her decide to pursue a career in international economics.[3]


Her work began studying economic growth in the Soviet Union, but later transferred to a focus in workplace economics, joining the senior staff of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 1965.[3][4] She became a voice for anti-discrimination in the workplace, and was an important part of the anti-workplace-discrimination contingencies of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[1] Her work shifted again towards economic issues with urban minority youth when she began working for Metropolitan Applied Research (MARC).[1]

Wallace joined the faculty of MIT in 1972 as a visiting professor, and was tenured as full professor in 1974, in the Sloan School.[5]


Phyllis A. Wallace was the first African American and the first female president of the Industrial Relations Research Association.[5] She also garnered several awards for her accomplishments, including National Economic Association's Westerfield Award in 1981,[4] and awards from several universities, including Yale (1980) and Brown (1986).[3]


Books by Wallace include:

  • Pathways to work: Unemployment among black teenage females (1974) Lexington, MA: Lexington Books
  • Women, minorities and employment discrimination (1977) Lexington, MA: Lexington Books
  • Phyllis Ann Wallace; Linda Datcher; Julianne Malveaux (1982) [1980]. Black Women in the Labor Force. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-73063-1.
  • editor, Women in the workplace (1982) Boston, MA: Auburn House
  • MBAs on the fast track (1989) New York: Harper and Row


  1. ^ a b c d Wayne, Tiffany (2011). American Woman of Science Since 1900. ABC CLIO, LLC. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-59884-158-9.
  2. ^ a b c d e Malveaux, Julianne (2004). "Wallace, Phyllis Ann. June 9, 1921-January 10, 1993". In Ware, Susan; Braukman, Stacy Lorraine (eds.). Notable American Women: Completing the Twentieth Century. Harvard University Press.
  3. ^ a b c d Cicarelli, James; Cicarelli, Julianne (2003). Distinguished Women Economists. United States: Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 206–208. ISBN 978-0-313-30331-9.
  4. ^ a b Malveaux, Julianne (January 4, 2002). A Different Vision: Volume 1. 29 West 35th Street New York NY 10001: Thomas D Boston. pp. 129–135. ISBN 9781134798605.
  5. ^ a b Malveaux, Julianne (1994). "Tilting against the wind: Reflections on the life and work of Phyllis Ann Wallace". The American Economic Review. 84 (2): 93–97. JSTOR 2117809.

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