Azie Taylor Morton was the first and only African-American to serve as United States Treasurer. Despite adversity, Ms. Morton rose to one of the highest posts in the land.
Morton, who was born on February 1, 1936 in Dale, Texas, worked in the cotton fields as a teenager. Dale attended the Texas Blind, Deaf, and Orphan School because there were no public schools for Black children in Texas, despite the fact that she had none of those issues. In 1952, she enrolled at the all-Black Huston-Tillotson University, where she earned a degree in commercial education.
Morton attempted to enroll in the doctoral program at the University of Texas but was denied due to her race. Taylor began her career as a teacher at a Texas delinquent girls’ school before joining Huston-Tillotson. President John F. Kennedy hired her in 1961 to work on the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, where she stayed for several years. She married James Homer Morton in 1965.
Morton worked as a special assistant to the Democratic National Committee from 1972 through 1976. President Jimmy Carter appointed Morton as Treasurer on September 12, 1977. She held the position until 1981. Morton was also a member of the American delegation to Rome for Pope John Paul II’s enthronement, as well as the Chair of the People to People Mission to the Soviet Union and China in 1986.