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Feb. 17, 2005

Sir William Arthur Lewis

by Grace Harter, Page Editor
Sir William Arthur Lewis, a pioneer in economics and the first black to receive the Nobel Prize for a field other than peace.
Sir William Arthur Lewis, a pioneer in economics and the first black to receive the Nobel Prize for a field other than peace.
Sir William Arthur Lewis was a pioneer for his race as well as a pioneer in the study of economics. He was the first black individual to receive the Nobel Prize for a field other than in peace. In 1979, he was awarded the prize for his study of the economic structures of developing countries and for his books on achieving a governmental structure and stable economy. Lewis worked throughout his lifetime to develop models for business between countries of varying economic stability.

Lewis was born in 1915 in the British West Indies, where he received his primary education. He later attended the prestigious London School of Economics on scholarship, and in 1937, he received his PhD. Lewis lectured at the school until 1947, when he took a teaching position at the University of Manchester as an economics professor until 1958. At that time, he became the principal of the University College of the West Indies, after which he taught at Princeton University.

During his lifetime, Lewis also advised the governments of many developing nations and wrote a series of books on the principles of economics. One of Lewis' major projects was to establish the Caribbean Development Bank, which he helped begin in 1970. The bank's purpose was to lend money to its "borrowing members" to reduce poverty in their respective countries and to improve their economic situations. Lewis was the bank's first president, and under his direction, the bank worked to finesse its developmental and financial skills. In 1963, Lewis was knighted, and in 1991, he died and was buried in a college named after him.

Information has been compiled from the African American Registry web site, the Britannic web site, the Nation Master web site and the Caribbean Development Bank web site.



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  • Brenna (View Email) on November 28, 2005 at 8:56 AM
    I think the biography on here was pretty good. Well done to the person who wrote this!
  • Uduma Kalu (View Email) on December 2, 2005 at 8:44 AM
    I am doing a poem for Lewis as one of the leading Igbo lights to the world. Called Ife...(Light) the collection celebrates all Igbo wherever they may be-igbo here means those that have affiliations with Igbo of Nigeria, and St Lucia, I understand, had a huge chunk of its population from Igboland. Lewis, one way or the other, must have Igbo connection having come from St. Lucia.
    And I saw a reflection of this in a Walcott's interview where he was speaking for the Igbo.
    I am using that book to show Africans have helped in world civilisation as a rply to Bush's policy that does not consider Africa in his administration.
    In Nigeria, some of the best brains engaged in the revamping of Nigerian economy are Igbo-Okonjo Iweala, Soludo, Kalu Idika Kalu, etc.And these were a peole, whom after the civil war in Nigeria were pauperised by the Nigerian economic policies. today, they are the top of Nigeria economy, without government help.
    It would nice to see how these economists, inluding Lewis would engage the issue of African and black economies which are the doldrums. That is how I would like Lewis to engage in my poem.

    Kalu
    But I salute this rare son of the igbo, born in St. Lucia, like Aimre Caesar, Equaino, etc.
  • Geof George (View Email) on January 2, 2006 at 12:55 PM
    It was a simple summary of the man, Sir Lewis, but it didn't stress to much on his country of birth; St. Lucia.
    It would be nice to mention that the college which is named after him is located in St. Lucia. It is the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College located in the capital, Castries; where he currently rests in peace.
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