Muata Weusi-Puryear  -  Class of 1953

Inducted: 2010

 



Muata Weusi-Puryear graduated from Asbury Park High School in 1953 (prior to 1972 Muata's name was Stanley R. Puryear).  He was an undergraduate student at Rutgers University then a Fire-Direction Specialist with the 4th Armored Division at Ft. Hood, Texas before returning to Monmouth County to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Monmouth College, West Long Branch (now Monmouth University).

 

Muata left New Jersey in 1960 for Las Cruces, New Mexico where he received his Master of Science degree in Mathematics from New Mexico State University.  He was one of the first Blacks to teach Mathematics at New Mexico State.

 

In 1962, 26 year old Muata entered the University of California at Berkeley in a Ph. D. program in Symbolic Logic (a course of study that bridges mathematics and philosophy).

 

To support himself, Muata landed a job as a scientific computer programmer at the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, California.  In his hunt to find housing, Muata discovered the local apartment owners did not rent to Black people.  Through the efforts of Peninsula Quakers, he got temporary housing in Los Altos, California.

 

While working as a full-time employee at Lockheed and studying as a full-time student at Berkeley, Muata joined the Palo Alto-Stanford branch of the NAACP.  He served on the housing committee in order to fight for civil rights in Santa Clara County.  With the help of the NAACP, Muata became the litigant in a case against a Sunnyvale apartment complex.  Muata's precedent setting case proved that the housing industry was not exempt from a California law that outlawed racial discrimination in businesses.

 

After winning his case in Sunnyvale, Muata dropped out of U.C. Berkeley to spend more time on his work for civil rights.  For seven years he (as president of the Palo Alto-Stanford branch of the NAACP) led a fight for housing and employment rights for Blacks in Santa Clarla County.

 

In 1970, Muata married, returned to college at Stanford University where he earned a Ph. D. and in 1972 started a family (now three children and two grandchildren.)

 

He did pioneering work in the educational use of computers - published several articles and copyrighted more than thirty-five computer-assisted-instruction games and tutorials through Edutek Coproration, palo Alto, California.

 

Dr. Muata Weusi-Puryear served as a tenured instructor in Mathematics for twenty years at DeAnza College, Cupertino, California where he taught more than six thousand students mathematics from pre-algebra through calculus.

 

In 2008, he retired and returned to what is for him pleasurable work in Statistics and Symbolic Logic.

 

When asked what advice he would give to Asbury Park High School students, he said: "If you know the past, know yourself, and have developed good academic skills, then on your journey through life when you come to one of those forks in the road you will be better equipped to make a good choice as to which road to take."