Azie Taylor Morton is distinguished as the  first and only African American ever to hold the post of Treasurer of the United States. She was born in Dale, TX on a small farm. During her youth, she worked in the cotton fields. There was no high school for African Americans in Dale, she attended high school at a charity-sponsored school for black children in Austin called the Texas Blind, Deaf, and Orphan School. She graduated at the age of 16 at the top of her class.

Morton attended Huston-Tillotson University, where she graduated with a bachelors degree in commercial education. She then attempted to enroll in the University of Texas for graduate school. Azie was denied admission, being told by the university that she did not have enough credits. However, due to the university policy of not admitting blacks in undergraduate programs, they would not allow her to complete the credits necessary to start the graduate program. Taylor instead took a teaching job at a school for troublesome girls. She then held several other jobs including employment with Huston-Tillotson University, and the Texas AFL-CIO.

In 1961 she was asked by President Kennedy to work for the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity.  Later in 1977, Morton accepted President Jimmy Carter’s invitation to serve as the 36th Treasurer of the United States. She held the post until 1981.

Azie Taylor Morton passed away on December 6, 2003 from complications due to a stroke. Morton’s signature appeared on the $1, $5, and $10 bills between September 1977-August 1979. Bills with her signature are considered to be very rare.

“It isn’t luck, and it isn’t circumstances, and it isn’t being born a certain way that causes a person’s future to become what it becomes.” – Azie Taylor Morton

References:

(Joelle Jackson, June 2, 2011, https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/morton-azie-taylor-1936-2003/)

(Herb Boyd, July 22, 2021, https://amsterdamnews.com/news/2021/07/22/azie-taylor-morton-nations-first-and-only-black-tr/)

(The Associated Press, Dec 14, 2003, https://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/14/us/azie-taylor-morton-67-us-treasurer-under-carter.html)

(Karen D. Brame, September 1, 2021, https://blacklistedculture.com/azie-taylor-morton/)