Edgar L. Edwards, Jr., was a leading figure in the fight for education solutions and policy alternatives for African Americans. He taught at a high school for African Americans before working at the Virginia State Department of Education. Later, he accepted a position as one of two black teachers at the University of Virginia. From 1961 to 1973 he served as an assistant state supervisor for the Virginia State Department of Education. During his tenure, he visited African American schools, conducted evaluations, and planned state mathematics conferences. He eventually was promoted to direct the state mathematics program and remained director until he retired in 1990.
Edwards joined NCTM in 1959. After World War II, it was reported that a number of soldiers were ill prepared in mathematics. NCTM appointed the Commission on Post War Mathematics to define mathematical competencies and skills that would assure mathematical literacy in contemporary society. Edwards was appointed chair and helped produce the "Mathematical Competencies and Skills Essential for Enlightened Citizens" report. He also served on the NCTM Board of Directors.
Edwards was involved with numerous associations and was cofounder of the Benjamin Banneker Association in 1986. He was the author of, and contributor to, several publications, including the booklet "Challenges in the Mathematics Education of African American Children" and the NCTM book and video,
Algebra for Everyone.
Edgar Edwards died in January 2005.